Cape Town councillor refuses to quit

2013-04-03 22:01
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Cape Town - Cape Town councillor Thobile Gqola has refused to quit after the city council voted for his removal.

"I was voted in by 15 000 voters and if I do anything wrong, I have to go back to those people and apologise," he told Sapa on Wednesday.

"But I have not done anything and, as a result, I see no reason why I should resign."

Gqola, who represents Ward 35 for the African National Congress, denied asking for money to secure state housing. He said he was innocent and would not willingly resign, as the Democratic Alliance had demanded.

The city council last week voted for Gqola's removal following a lengthy investigation, said DA Ward 35 proportional representation councillor Xolile Gwangxu.

"The final decision on his removal lies with Local Government MEC Anton Bredell, but we hope that councillor Gqola will do the right thing and resign his seat."

The DA submitted a formal complaint to the speaker of the council in April 2012, alleging Gqola had contravened the councillors' code of conduct by using his position for personal benefit.

"Gqola offered residents in Crossroads the assurance of getting a state-subsidised house in exchange for R7 000 paid directly to him," Gwangxu said.

"He allegedly took multiple payments from residents in exchange for each of them receiving a house in the Philippi East Phase Five housing project."

Gqola said he would appeal against any decision to fire him and not rest until "justice was served". He was disturbed by the allegations and how the investigation was conducted.

"The seven witnesses they called are coming from Khayelitsha and claim they are my friends, but I don't know them," he said.

"They testified that I asked for their money and didn't give them any receipt. Six of these people say they borrowed money from the bank, but no one is saying 'Let's go to the bank, verify this and look at the contracts'."

He said the witnesses were called in October and he feared they had been given ample opportunity to speak to each other and invent the same story.

"From the word go, from my inception, there have been people who vowed they will not be pleased and not rest until they see I am out of this office."

Gqola said a fraud case against him made it to the Philippi, Athlone, and Wynberg Magistrate's Courts, but was withdrawn because no one came forward to testify.

Local government spokesperson Peter Pullen said he was unable to say when a decision on Gqola's employment would be taken because the city still had to formally refer the matter.

Once the matter came before Bredell, it would take some time for certain processes to occur.

"Because the MEC is the person who takes the decision to remove or not, he has to satisfy himself on various aspects of the city's investigation, both in respect of the procedure and the merits."

Gqola would have up to a month to make representations to Bredell once all the documentation had been received from the city.

- SAPA

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  anton bredell  |  cape town  |  local government  |  politics
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