Mogalakwena: ‘Tell us who killed Piet Pale’

2014-09-10 17:32

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There was more trouble at the embattled Mogalakwena municipality in Limpopo today when two factional groups squared off outside the municipal offices.

A group of people, some wearing ANC T-shirts, marched on the offices in Mokopane. They demanded the removal of the municipal manager, William Kekana, as well as 22 ANC councillors who were expelled by the governing party.

Another group of people, who were wearing Mogalakwena Residents Association caps and T-shirts, stood and watched the march from behind a palisade fence and locked gates inside municipal premises. They danced and sang: “Tell us who killed Piet Pale.”

Pale, a leader of the Mogalakwena Residents Association, was shot dead earlier this year in what his group believe was a hit linked to his involvement in fighting corruption and opposing another faction of ANC councillors at the council.

A police wall was formed between the two opposition groups but in the end the marchers dispersed peacefully without an incident.

The call for Kekana to be removed as municipal manager is based on accusations of nepotism and his relationship with a legal firm contracted to the council.

In his response, Kekana said the group must provide evidence to prove there was nepotism, adding that his “own brother and cousins were unemployed”.

He said the legal firm was already working for the council when he joined Mogalakwena.

“We have never lost a case with these lawyers and they’re feared because they are very efficient as attorneys. Maybe they’re targeting them because they’re dealing with cases affecting them,” said Kekana.

“These people are using anything they can find against me even if it does not hold water and they’re not succeeding simply because they have nothing to prove against me.”

The group promised to march on Mogalakwena until Kekana and the 22 councillors had left.

Kekana maintained that he was not wanted because he had been preventing people from embezzling council funds and engaging in corrupt activities.

A tussle was set to continue regarding the 22 expelled councillors. The decision was taken to have the Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs MEC terminate their membership as councillors for absconding council business activities. There is also a legal bid by the 22 expelled councillors to challenge the decision in court.

Meanwhile, the ANC in the province has been accused of taking sides on the Mogalakwena fracas and failing to intervene decisively.

The party would not comment, saying there were still outstanding legal matters around Mogalakwena.

Today’s march came a week after another incident, in which former Waterberg district mayor Eric Gwangwa was shot.

Gwangwa had been among a group that had reportedly attempted to storm into a council meeting. He was there to support former mayor Tlhalefi Mashamaite – known for hiring 27 bodyguards – and other ANC councillors, who were unhappy that the 22 expelled councillors spearheaded a council decision to have them removed after they were absent for more than three council meetings.

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