‘Remove Shelembe’ — Khoza

2011-06-20 00:00

WHILE the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has shown reluctance towards acting on mounting calls for its controversial uMsunduzi Deputy Mayor Alpha Shelembe to be removed, a senior ANC leader and its provincial spokesperson, Makhosi Khoza has broken ranks and called on Shelembe to be removed “until his name is cleared before a court of law”.

However Khoza, who is also an ANC KZN MPL was quick to point out that she was making the call in her individual capacity as the chairperson of the KZN Legislature’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), not on behalf of the ANC in KZN.

“I’m also doing this as part of promoting and protecting institutional integrity of the state. [I] issue this statement as directed by my conscience and mandate as a chair of Scopa to do the right thing in defence of the ANC image and reputation …

“Notwithstanding, the decision of the ANC PEC (provincial executive committee) of upholding the constitutional right of an individual, including its members, of not being guilty until proven so by the court of law, circumstances have however changed in that the very court of law made a ruling and convicted a person of arson, who then made serious allegations against someone who already faces criminal charges and was part of the leadership that presided over a collapsing municipality.”

Khoza said — guided by the ANC’s commitment to fighting and rooting out corruption — she felt that Shelembe should be removed from office “until his name is cleared before a court of law”.

Since the announcement of Shelembe as the deputy mayor, there has been mounting pressure on the ANC to remove him. That campaign took another turn on Friday when hundreds of ANC supporters participated in a march called by the ANC’s alliance partner, the trade union federation Cosatu.

The call for Shelembe’s removal received another boost last week when a convicted arsonist, Themba Dumisani Mbona, said he was promised a bribe by Shelembe to burn the ANC’s Moses Mabhida regional offices in Jabu Ndlovu Street. Mbona was sentenced to eight years with three years suspended for the crime that caused an estimated R750 000 damage to the building.

Provincial secretary of the ANC, Sihle Zikalala said the ANC will study the judgment and take appropriate action afterwards.

KZN police spokesperson Brigadier Phindile Radebe confirmed that there were investigations into allegations against Shelembe made during the Mbona case.

However, Radebe denied weekend reports that police were closing in on Shelembe and will soon arrest him.

Shelembe denied knowing Mbona or instructing him to set the fire.

Khoza said the ANC should be exemplary and send a message consistent with its historic mission “which I personally delivered to all the voters of KwaZulu-Natal during the election campaign — that of ANC’s ability to take hard decisions and act decisively when called upon to do so.”

“I’m doing this guided by the ANC constitution that prevents any member from bringing its name into disrepute and as such feel strongly that the ANC’s deserved victory in KwaZulu-Natal cannot be lost due to an individual.

“The removal of Shelembe should sent a strong message to the public that the ANC listens and the ANC cannot tolerate corruption nor have its individual members acting in a manner that dents the image of our giant movement.

“This will make my job as a chair of Scopa an honour rather than a disgrace.”

She added: “As a chairperson of Scopa, charged with the responsibility of oversight function, I also add my voice in [calling for ] the removal of Shelembe from office.”

She said she could no longer “sit idle and watch my home town quality of life standards dropping at such an alarming rate without any action that restores confidence in the leadership which I’m part of … We cannot afford to betray our people.” Commenting on the situation of uMsunduzi municipality, she said “it has all the symptoms of a failed local state,” and called for it to be rebuilt.

Shelembe failed to return numerous messages sent to him to comment on these latest developments.

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