ANC 'left big debt at KZN offices'

2016-10-03 11:30
The ANC's Moses Mabhida regional office where ANC members are alleged to have been evicted from.

The ANC's Moses Mabhida regional office where ANC members are alleged to have been evicted from. (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - The ANC in the Moses Mabhida region is alleged to have been evicted from its Pietermaritzburg offices for owing over R1.6 million for rent and electricty.

The party’s recent move from the offices in Jabu Ndlovu Street allegedly followed numerous previous attempts to evict them from the building by the landlord, who operated under the name Mark of a King Investments (Pty) Ltd.

The ANC has now taken up offices in Hoosen Haffajee Street after occupying their previous office in Jabu Ndlovu Street for almost 10 years.

Well-placed sources within the ANC have revealed that the party owed its previous landlord, a local businessman, well over R1 million in unpaid rent.

The ANC regional office is also allegedly in arrears with its municipal electricity account to the tune of over R600 000.

Many calls and text messages to ANC regional secretary Mzi Zuma for comment about the matter since Friday have gone unanswered.

ANC regional spokesperson Spha Khumalo said he could not comment on the matter and referred The Witness back to Zuma.

A source, who asked not to be named, said there had been numerous earlier attempts by landlord Suleiman Ebrahim (also known as Solly) Jassat to have the ANC removed from the building, but the ANC did not budge.

Jassat refused to comment on the situation when called by The Witness on two separate occasions.

The Witness has in its possession a letter written by Jassat in September 2012, calling on Msunduzi Municipality to disconnect the electricity in the Jabu Ndlovu Street building. The letter bears the letterhead of Mark of a King Investments (Pty) Ltd.

In the letter, Jassat said they had received the statement of account for the building on September 12, 2012 and immediately contacted the municipality to disconnect the tenants.

Jassat wrote that his company did not want the account to escalate further and to be held responsible for the payment of the account.

He said that upon later inspection he found the building was still connected, and he was subsequently asked to point out the meter room to the contractor appointed to carry out the disconnection.

But when Jassat arrived at the meter room, he found an ANC staff member there who called a senior ANC official who was in the building.

“He [the official] then spoke to the contractors and made phone calls to senior officials, and then instructed them not to disconnect [the power],” the letter read.

He said he felt the municipality’s action was “highly irregular” in that it had “broken its own by-laws by not disconnecting a defaulting consumer”.

Jassat concluded his letter saying that the owners had brought the matter to the municipality’s attention and “therefore we will not be held responsible for further charges on this account as from the 10th of September, 2012”.

Inquiries by The Witness revealed that no account for the Jabu Ndlovu Street offices exists on the municipality’s billing system. The Witness checked for account details under the name of the landlord and the ANC, and both emerged as non-existent.

“If the account does not exist, then there is surely something not right. They are receiving municipal services and should have an account,” said a source.

He said that the ANC’s Moses Mabhida branch had never been disconnected from municipal services.

“About three years ago the sheriff was chased away from the office at gunpoint when he arrived with the eviction order.

“No one reported it and no one spoke of it again, and the incident was eventually swept under the carpet with the ANC remaining in the building,” alleged the well-placed source.

Three reliable sources within the ANC have confirmed the allegations contained in this article, but asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue. “It is a known fact that they [the ANC] owe the municipality thousands of rands for their water and electricity usage, yet they have never been disconnected,” said the source.

Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the municipality needed time to investigate the allegations before responding.

DA provincial deputy leader Mergan Chetty said the “arrogant behaviour” was synonymous with the current ANC leadership. “The current ANC leadership believe they are neither answerable nor accountable,” he said.

Read more on:    anc  |  pietermaritzburg  |  politics  |  local government

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