Cops to bust PMB deputy mayor

2011-06-18 19:09

Police are preparing to arrest Pietermaritzburg deputy mayor Alpha Shelembe for allegedly giving the order to burn the ANC’s ­regional offices in the capital last weekend in a bid to destroy incriminating documents.

Shelembe, the former speaker of the Msunduzi municipality, is already facing charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering for allegedly making R200 000 from inflating the price of property bought by the council during 2003.

Police sources told City Press on Friday that a warrant of arrest was being drafted in anticipation of Shelembe, whose appointment has sparked a wave of protests and ­battles within the ANC alliance, being arrested early this week.

On Wednesday Shelembe was named as being behind last Saturday night’s arson attack on the ANC’s Pietermaritzburg offices by Themba Mabona, who was jailed for eight years this week for causing the blaze.

Mabona, in his plea statement, said Shelembe had offered him R500 000 and a full-time job at the ANC office for starting the fire, which razed offices believed to contain documentation that was to be presented to the ANC national team investigating alleged ­irregularities in the candidate selection ­process.

On Friday Cosatu, the SACP and ANC members from Pietermartizburg branches marched through the city, demanding that Shelembe and speaker Zonke Mbatha be fired.

Young Communist League chairperson Mlu Manana said the ANC provincial leadership and its chairperson, Premier Zweli Mkhize, had been repeatedly briefed about the corruption and other allegations against Shelembe.

Manana said Shelembe and other “corrupt” regional leaders were being protected by the province and were part of a broader grouping aiming to oust ANC president Jacob Zuma next year by using money looted from council coffers.

Earlier this week, former deputy mayor Mervyn Dirks publicly stated that Shelembe and other ANC regional leaders had forced councillors to sign off on multimillion-rand tenders to companies linked to them and family members of Mkhize.

Mkhize refused to comment, with his spokesperson Ndabe Sibiya describing Dirks’s claims as “defamatory”.

Shelembe failed to respond to repeated messages left by City Press.

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