Former Mpumalanga premier appointed mayor

2011-05-30 13:12

Former Mpumalanga premier Ndaweni Mahlangu has bounced back to political office as a mayor of a rural municipality.

Provincial ANC secretary Lucky Ndinisa said today, while announcing the province’s mayors for 21 municipalities, that Mahlangu takes over the reigns of the corruption-riddled Thembisile local municipality. Mahlangu was the premier between 2000 and 2004 after taking over from current ANC treasurer Mathews Phosa, and will likely be best remembered for saying it was not wrong for politicians to lie.

Mahlangu’s term was fraught with allegations of corruption and public relations blunders. Former president Thabo Mbeki replaced Mahlangu with Thabang Makwetla after he had served a single term.

He then became a backbencher in the Mpumalanga legislature before disappearing from public office to concentrate on farming.

The Thembisile Hani municipality was placed under administration last year following service delivery protests that lasted about three months.

Mahlangu was not immediately available for comment as his cellphone was switched off. Another controversial appointment is that of Cathy Dlamini – a director in Premier David Mabuza’s office and ANC provincial executive committee member – who replaces Lassy Chiwayo at the Mbombela municipality in the provincial capital, Nelspruit. Mbombela’s annual budget is R2 billion.

Dlamini was not elected by any nomination list conference. Her name was added just before the candidate list was sent to the Independent Electoral Commission.

Ndinisa defended the appointment of controversial individuals as mayors, saying the ANC had chosen candidates with experience. “These are men and women with political and government management know-how.

More importantly, they know the people’s needs.” Ndinisa called Dlamini’s inclusion at the top of the list a “political intervention”.

Documents in the possession of City Press indicate that Dlamini is involved in a legal wrangle with the municipality she is now going to lead after she was accused of invading a council-owned house in Elandshoek. Another council house was allegedly illegally occupied by her relative in White River.

An e-mail from Joseph Sithole, housing and properties acting senior manager in Mbombela municipality, addressed to the council’s human settlements portfolio committee chairperson, Mandla Msibi, indicates that Dlamini had requested to buy the house after the White River Magistrate’s Court issued an order to evict her.

“The office of the municipal manager has received a letter from Ms C Dlamini, requesting to buy the same property, she is aware of the court order, she has cited that such a process will cause a lot of pain to her and her family,” said the e-mail.

When approached for comment on the matter on an earlier occasion, Dlamini refused to discuss it.

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