22 councillors removed but mayor with ‘27 bodyguards’ remains

2014-04-13 09:20

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A story reminiscent of Tlokwe is playing itself out in the Mogalakwena municipality where the ANC was in the process of removing councillors from their positions after they had been found guilty of voting with the opposition.

However, action was yet to be taken against Mogalakwena mayor Tlhalefi Mashamaite following a damning forensic report in which he was implicated in gross financial mismanagement.

The 22 councillors belong to a faction of the ANC within the council opposed to Mashamaite’s group.

Among other things, the councillors are said to have supported a council resolution for a forensic audit, which now implicated Mashamaite. They were also part of the council sitting that hired municipal manager William Kekana, whose employment contract is the subject of litigation.

The mayor has been accused of, among others, acquiring up to 27 personal bodyguards using the municipality’s name.

This group of ANC councillors were first sanctioned by the provincial task team disciplinary committee and went on to appeal the outcome at national level.

“The appeal by the 22 councillors of Mogalakwena municipality was dismissed by the National Disciplinary Committee (NDC) of the ANC. The NDC suspended the ANC membership of seven of the councillors by 12 months after they were found guilty on one count of bringing the ANC into disrepute while 15 others had their ANC membership suspended for two years after they were found guilty on two counts of bringing the ANC into disrepute,” said ANC Limpopo spokesperson Khumbudzo Ntshavheni.

“These councillors cannot continue to represent the ANC in the municipality. The ANC has initiated the process of declaring vacancies in the Mogalakwena municipality in line with the Municipal Structures Act in order to facilitate their replacement.”

While nine councillors can be easily replaced because they were proportional list councillors, the vacancies of 13 ward councillors will have to be filled through by-elections.

A similar situation played itself out in Tlokwe when the ANC removed 14 councillors from their positions, leaving nine seats vacant – although the ruling party managed to retain those wards in by-elections.

Recently a group of Mogalakwena residents marched on the premier’s office, calling for the resignation of the mayor and later successfully managed to interdict the Limpopo government from placing Mogalakwena under administration.

Said the community group’s spokesperson, Madimetja Pale: “The ANC as a sober organisation should deal with the mayor and leave the councillors who were merely protecting the integrity of the council. We’re totally against the party’s action and we are ready to go to court to seek justice for these councillors.”

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