Ex-mayor with 27 bodyguards storms council meeting

2014-09-07 16:00

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The former mayor of Mogalakwena – the man who hired 27 armed bodyguards for his own protection – was part of a mob that stormed a council meeting this week, during which a former colleague was shot in the leg.

Tlhalefi Mashamaite was demoted to councillor after being implicated in a KPMG forensic audit report on gross corruption and maladministration.

He leads a faction of 30 ANC councillors – some of whom stormed the meeting on Tuesday, during which his old colleague and supporter, former Waterberg District Municipality mayor Eric Gwangwa, was shot. Gwangwa was discharged from hospital on Friday.

Opposing Mashamaite is a group of 22 councillors led by current mayor William Mabuela, all of whom have been expelled by the ANC. They refuse to leave their council positions.

Mashamaite’s bid to storm council chambers was apparently sparked by a recent council decision to fire him and his group after they failed to attend more than three council meetings. The ANC councillors have reportedly refused to explain why they did not attend the meetings.

Meanwhile, the group of 22 councillors now in charge of the municipality have taken the ANC to court to challenge their expulsion.

They claim they were punished by those who sided with Mashamaite, and say they were being crucified for removing him and replacing him with Mabuela. They also accuse the provincial ANC of taking sides with the corrupt and shielding them.

Mabuela said the ANC only had itself to blame for the fracas: “We now have people who were implicated in a damning forensic report using hooliganism tactics in an attempt to render Mogalakwena ungovernable,” he said.

Mabuela said his group took the ANC to court to challenge a decision by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe not to allow the national executive committee (NEC) to review the decision to expel them from the party.

In a letter to the 22 councillors’ lawyer, Mantashe said procedural fairness was applied and he would not refer the group’s petition for review of the disciplinary committee’s decision to the NEC.

Mabuela accused Mantashe of “abuse of power”, saying the group believes the NEC would find in their favour.

“They just want us out so that people can do as they wish and for corruption and maladministration to persist with impunity,” he said.

Limpopo ANC secretary Nocks Seabi declined to comment, and Mashamaite did not respond to calls for comment.

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