Mathale takes more flak, rubbishes claims
Polokwane - The office of Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale has rubbished claims that he suspended an acting head of department (HOD) who reportedly refused to sign off a R167m payment for several companies linked to ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema.
The claims were reported in several mainstream newspapers and the Congress of the South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) took a resolution to march against Mathale's office, demanding to know why he had "suspended" health and social development acting HOD Deliwe Nyathikazi.
However, on Tuesday, Mathale's spokesperson Phuti Mosoma said Nyathikazi had not been suspended, but was given another position within her department.
"We need to understand that she was an acting HOD and that a new HOD was appointed as from last week Monday," said Mosoma. "I can't tell you what position Nyathikazi occupies in the department now, but I can confirm that she is still here."
Mosoma said the premier and his office were concerned about the manner in which the media was "being used to propel false statements" that caused confusion in the public and the corridors of the provincial government.
"It is unfortunate that these incorrect allegations are communicated notwithstanding vehement rejection of their accuracy by the government. We are calling on everyone to act responsibly when making unsubstantiated allegations against the government," he said.
At a recent meeting in Polokwane, Cosatu's provincial executive committee gave Mathale and other ANC public representatives an ultimatum to either run businesses or serve their communities.
"Mathale's name has been associated with a number of businesses in Limpopo,” said Cosatu provincial secretary Dan Sebabi.
"Recently the City Press quoted him admitting that he is involved in about 50 businesses in the province, including being a director of the multimillion-rand Mabete citrus project."
Seabi said Mathale's involvement in business was against the ANC's commitment to uphold the principles of clean leadership and "revolutionary morality".
He said no government leader should be allowed to use political power to advance their commercial interests.
However, Mosoma defended Mathale's commercial interests.
"There isn't a policy in the country that prohibits the premier from doing business; instead there is a policy that allows him to declare his business interests, of which he did.
"Cosatu has a political agenda against the premier, so we take this as a political matter that needs the ANC to respond, not the premier personally,” said Mosoma.
Sebabi insisted on Tuesday that Mathale had planned to suspend Nyathikazi but had a fright when the union made noise about it last week.
"They planned to suspend and investigate her; the big question is how can you suspend and investigate someone who is investigating you and your associates for corruption?" said Sebabi.
He said Cosatu had incriminating evidence against a number of top ANC officials who were fraudulently doing business with the provincial government.
Asked if the incriminating evidence implicated Mathale and Malema, Sebabi said: “We don't want to jeopardise our planned anti-corruption press conference next week; that is where we are going to expose these people."
He said Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi would lead a planned protest march to Mathale's office next week to demand the recalling of MEC's and government officials, for corrupt relations and activities.