Mpumalanga speaker, ex EFF chief whip face fraud charges

2015-07-22 11:11

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Mbombela - A fraud and corruption case has been opened against Mpumalanga provincial legislature Speaker Thandi Shongwe for her alleged failure to evict former Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) member Ayanda Shabalala from a state house she occupied before defecting to the African National Congress (ANC).

Shabalala officially dumped the EFF and joined the ANC with 1 000 members of her EFF constituency on May 30 this year after a fallout with the fledgling opposition party's provincial and national leaders.

However, since vacating her seat as EFF chief whip at the provincial legislature, she has reportedly not yet vacated the state house allocated to EFF members of the provincial legislature.

'Shongwe has abused her powers'

"According to the members handbook, a member who has since vacated the legislature is allowed to stay at the government house for at least 30 days, but as people know Shabalala resigned from the party and until now she is still staying at the house.

“We have since sworn in another member to replace her, but the member doesn't have a house as we speak," said EFF provincial leader Collen Sedibe on Tuesday afternoon.

Sedibe said Shongwe has the power to remove Shabalala but has given her three months to continue staying there.

"We feel the speaker has abused her powers. This is a crime and for that reason we have opened fraud and corruption charges against the Speaker and Shabalala for using the state's house even though she is not entitled to do so," said Sedibe.

Mpumalanga provincial legislature spokesperson Zamagambu Memela-Gamede said she was not aware of the charges against the speaker, but said the speaker is not responsible for the accommodation of legislature members.

"I'm not going to respond on the issue of charges against the speaker because I am not aware of that," said Memela-Gamede.

Police investigating

She added that Shongwe has informed the department that Shabalala was no longer a member of the legislature.

The department's spokesperson Mpho Gabashane confirmed he was aware of the issue but was unable to respond to questions emailed to him on Tuesday.

Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala confirmed that a case of fraud and corruption has been opened at the Nelspruit police station against Shongwe and Shabalala.

He could not comment further but only stated that police were investigating the matter.

Shabalala could not be reached for comment as her cellphone rang unanswered on Tuesday.

Read more on:    anc  |  eff  |  mbombela  |  fraud
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