ANC probes claims mayor funded FYL

2012-11-10 16:12

The ANC is investigating claims that the mayor of a poor North West municipality donated taxpayers’ money to fund a Friends of the Youth League (FYL) rally.

The FYL has been former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema’s biggest lobby group since he was expelled from the ruling party.

A letter that allegedly proves the donation has now become a political weapon between two factions of ANC councillors in the Ditsobotla Local Municipality.

The letter, bearing Mayor Lesego Holele’s signature, was handed to the party’s secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, three weeks ago.

If the ANC proves that Holele or anyone in the municipality had knowingly funded the FYL, this will be the first evidence that taxpayers’ money may have been used to partly bankroll the group.

The letter, addressed to the FYL’s Polokwane-based Mandla Seopela and signed by Holele, undertakes to fund transport to ferry FYL supporters to a rally in Ottosdal.

The letter is dated May 24 and bears the council’s letterhead and Holele’s name.

It reads: “My office hereby confirms its support for your programme as telephonically discussed. We will provide transport for comrades to the rally to be addressed by the ANC Youth League president, comrade Julius Malema, at Ottosdal in Tswaing.”

But Holele denied she ever authored such a letter or funded the FYL. She admits the signature on the letter is hers, but claimed it was forged.

The letter also urged the FYL to communicate with the municipality’s youth development coordinator in Holele’s office, Sello Khoza, for “any assistance you may need”.

Last week Khoza, who arrived with Holele for a meeting with City Press, said he knew nothing about the alleged funding. Both claim they are victims of a political conspiracy by an opposing camp.

Holele is linked to a group in the ANC that seeks a change of leadership in Mangaung next month, while some of her fellow councillors would prefer to see ANC president Jacob Zuma re-elected.

When presented with the letter, a shocked Holele said: “These people are champions. I don’t know the letter, but they got my signature right. This is my signature and they must have scanned it from the council agendas,” she said.

Holele insisted she never signed anything without reading it first.

“Let the investigation happen and I’ll tell you my signature has been forged. We are dealing with people who are very conniving.”

The FYL letter was apparently found in a drawer in an office that was previously occupied by Holele’s former office manager, Fikile Jakeni. He was fired from the municipality for alleged fraud. Efforts to contact Jakeni were unsuccessful.

Holele also claimed she had never used the municipality’s letterhead that appears on the FYL letter, one of the two letterheads the council uses for official documents.

“It’s the municipal manager and administration people who’ve been using it (the letterhead),” Holele said.

Mantashe mentioned the FYL funding letter during his visit to Ditsobotla three weeks ago and told ANC members at the gathering that he would present it to the party’s top six officials.

He refused to confirm if the officials had discussed the letter and instead slammed ANC members who discussed party matters with the media.

FYL leaders said they knew nothing about funding from the municipality and described the letter as “bizarre”.

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