Alpha’s second chance

2013-10-10 00:00

ALPHA Shelembe, the ANC’s powerful Moses Mabhida region chairperson, has welcomed the opportunity to serve his political party in another sphere of government, saying he deserved a second chance.

Shelembe was commenting on his appointment as a Member of the KZN Provincial Legislature (MPL). He fills an opening left by the departure of former premier Zweli Mkhize.

“In the 15 years I served in local government, I made my mark. It is fair, not that I deserve it, that I be given a chance in another sphere of government,” Shelembe said yesterday.

He was “happy, humbled and excited” that the ANC had shown confidence in him.

Shelembe’s tenure in local government was marked by controversy. He and his wife Joyful were recently acquitted of corruption and money laundering charges, while his co-accused, ANC Bambatha region chairperson Lucky Moloi, was found guilty.

The charges arose from the sale of a property in Pietermaritzburg to the uMgungundlovu­ District Municipality at an inflated price.

Shelembe was speaker in the Msunduzi council when the municipality went under administration in 2010. He subsequently left, along with other senior councillors, only to return as deputy mayor after the 2011 elections, sparking an outcry. Questions were raised about his re-appointment to the political leadership of a municipality that had collapsed during his previous tenure.

Shelembe ended up facing arson charges after the party’s regional offices were gutted during a stand-off with his detractors, and he resigned from the council and also as ANC regional treasurer.

He was later cleared of the arson charge and bounced back to become the Moses Mabhida region chairperson.

Recalling this period, he said that resigning from his leadership positions was the right move.

“I felt it appropriate to give the ANC space and time to deal with the internal matters.”

Shelembe said the experience showed that patience pays off.

“At times we become impatient because we have not done anything wrong. If we can all be patient and allow processes to unpack, at the end the truth comes out.”

Shelembe would not say what his plans were for the future.

“In politics you do not decide for yourself,” he said.

“It is premature to have ambitions, but I will do whatever it takes to the best of my ability, and if the ANC believes I deserve something, I will be up to it.”

ANC insiders believe that Shelembe’s appointment as MPL was a reward for lobbying for Premier Senzo Mchunu to be elected the ANC’s KZN chairperson.

Shelembe downplayed this, saying: “The Moses Mabhida region took a resolution to support Senzo, and I was to lead that process, not that I should get credit,” he said.

Shelembe again refuted allegations that he was a former IFP supporter, saying he had never been a member of the party. “It was a fabrication and a campaign to smear my name. That never existed.”

Shelembe grew up in the kwaShifu area near Howick, and has a twin brother named Omega.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.