Cogta warns councillors after spate of criminal cases

2013-04-30 00:00

CO-OPERATIVE Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube has urged councillors to conduct themselves with honesty following a spate of criminal cases.

The rising number of councillors allegedly involved in criminal activities was tarnishing the image of local government and impacting on the credibility of public representatives “as custodians of the welfare of our communities”, Dube said in a statement.

She was speaking following the recent arrest of a DA councillor in the Ixopo-based Ubuhlebezwe Municipality, who is out on bail for allegedly raping a 19-year-old woman. He cannot be named until he has pleaded.

An IFP councillor, Mbongeni Nxumalo, of the Jozini Municipality, was recently sentenced to 10 years in jail for the rape of a 14-year-old girl.

An eThekwini IFP councillor, Sakhi Ngcamu, was recently arrested on charges of possession of a firearm used in a murder and implicated in another murder case.

The NFP has two of its eThekwini councillors, Mzonjani Zulu and Mgezeni Gwala, charged with separate murders.

Dube said that while the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” was respected, it was disturbing to have public representatives suspected of criminal involvement.

She warned councillors to be extra vigilant in ensuring that they led clean lives and dissociated themselves from any activities “that might create an inference in the public eye that local government is infested with criminals as opposed to agents for improved service delivery”.

The Witness established that some of the councillors facing criminal charges have not been suspended by their parties.

DA provincial leader Sizwe Mchunu said his party presumed their councillor to be innocent until proven guilty.

“We will wait until the court pronounces on the matter,” ­Mchunu said.

The NFP provincial chairperson, Vikizitha Mlotshwa, said the party’s position on councillors implicated in criminal activities was to strip them of their membership and remove them from public office.

However, he said the challenge was to take action against the councillors before court processes were completed.

“There are some we had removed, but they took us to court and the courts ruled in their favour.”

He said Gwala and Zulu would remain in their positions until the courts decided otherwise.

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