Former ANC chief whip joins EFF, ‘too much corruption’ in municipality

2013-10-04 11:40

The ailing ANC-led Thaba Chweu municipality in Lydenburg, Mpumalanga, has lost one of its councillors, who defected to the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

Paul Mogotsenyana (34) – a former ANC chief whip – has resigned for the second time as the party’s councillor over “too much corruption” in the municipality.

He first resigned in February, but agreed to stand again as councillor in Ward 6 (Simile township near Sabie) and won a by-election in May.

“There was too much corruption and I felt the ANC was not practising what it preaches. When I resigned for the first time it was for the same reasons, but my community persuaded me to come and focus only on being a ward councillor than be a chief whip. They felt that I could have been frustrated by holding a senior position in the council,” said Mogotsenyana.

“Now I’ve fallen in love with the EFF’s radical policies,” he added.

A by-election for the ward has been scheduled for November 27. This could mean the loss of another ANC ward in Thaba Chweu after the Democratic Alliance won Graskop in 2011 – a ward the ANC had controlled since 1994.

ANC provincial spokesperson Siphosezwe Masango said Mogotsenyana’s resignation should not necessarily be attributed to the administrative and political instability in Thaba Chweu.

“The resignation can’t be read to have been caused by the problems in that municipality. As we move towards the elections, there will be movement of people from one organisation to the next because they see opportunities. I view this matter in that context,” Masango said.

The EFF’s provincial head of organising and campaigns, Collen Sedibe, said the party was gaining support in Mpumalanga.

“I know there are other councillors who have resigned in this province in order to join EFF, but the ANC has not informed the IEC (Independent Electoral Commission),” said Sedibe.

An ANC councillor in Thaba Chweu, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the deteriorating state of affairs in the municipality could cause more councillors to resign.

“Mogotsenyana has been speaking to councillors to join EFF. He’s making life difficult for us ... the mayor (Bafana Ncongwane) had to run for his dear life this week after trying to address residents of Ward 6 because EFF was all over. We lost Graskop already and we might lose more wards,” he said.

Mpumalanga department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Simon Skhosana has dispatched a support team to assist the municipality to get back on its feet.

Thaba Chweu received its fourth successive disclaimer of opinion from the latest Auditor-General’s report. A disclaimer means that officials may have withheld information from auditors to hide corruption.

The municipality has failed to settle its debt of about R147 million to Eskom, and has been a hot spot for service-delivery protests.

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