ANC councillor accused of giving food parcels, jobs to friends

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  • Angry residents of Ward 11 in Mdantsane want their ANC ward councillor in Buffalo City Metro Mashwabada Gcilishe to step down or be removed over a string of allegations.
  • Among the allegations are that Gcilishe dishes out jobs and food parcels for the needy to his supporters and friends. 
  • In January, Cogta MEC Xolile Nqatha suspended Ward 10 ANC councillor Nicky Vitbooi and Ward 1 councillor Kuhle Ciliza for three months without pay over similar allegations.

Angry residents of Ward 11 in Mdantsane want their ANC ward councillor in Buffalo City Metro, Mashwabada Gcilishe, to step down or be removed over a string of allegations, regarding food parcels and jobs for friends.

The group has written letters to Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Xolile Nqatha and to BCM council speaker Humphrey Maxhegwana reporting Gcilishe’s alleged misconduct.      

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In the letters, dated 9 February, seen by News24, the group claimed that Gcilishe gives jobs and food parcels for the needy to his supporters and friends.

The group also demanded an explanation on how ward development funds, amounting to R2.7 million, had been used.

The allegations against Gcilishe come a month after Cogta MEC Xolile Nqatha suspended Ward 10 ANC councllor Nicky Vitbooi and Ward 1 councillor Kuhle Ciliza for three months without pay over similar allegations.

Elections

This is Gcilishe’s second term in office following his reelection after the 3 August 2016 municipal elections.

The group pleaded: “We request an urgent intervention against councillor Mashwabada Gcilishe and his admin clerk because this behaviour creates divisions amongst members of the community.”

Called for comment, Gcilishe said he was aware of the group that has been calling for his head since the day he was elected as a councillor. He said some of the group were beneficiaries of many of his projects.

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Gcilishe claimed that a probe launched into the allegations by late council speaker Alfred Mtsi, before he died of Covid-19 in July 2020, had cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Gcilishe said his personal assistant should be left out,“... in my alleged decisions as she takes instruction from me as a ward councillor”.

“The food parcels beneficiaries were chosen by area committees guided by ward committees. I was never involved in this process deliberately to preside over disputes when they arises. The logic behind this is that you cannot preside over disputes of food parcels when you are also part of the problem,” Gcilishe said.

Employment

He added: “Same applies with the employment of people in ward projects. My involvement is when I brief the ward committee and get the candidates from an area and that can also be confirmed by those who are involved in that process. Only when there are glaring cases of exclusions through complaints then I intervene and preside over those disputes.”

He said the first ward-based budget was R700 000 for the 2018/2019 financial year and more than R600 000 was mostly used for Expanded Public Works projects and to buy food parcels for needy families.

He said that with regards to the second allocation of R1 million for 2020, a decision was taken at a general meeting to use it to pay about 60 workers for a EPWP project. He said some of it was used to buy tracksuits for the elderly people in the ward and sport kits.

Gcilishe said the ward has not been allocated their R1 million budget for 2021 because the ward failed to convene a general meeting due to strict Covid-19 regulations.

He added that a recent meeting of the ward committee sat and resolved that they should stick to the same spending pattern used over the years.

Buffalo City Metro spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya said: “We have received the correspondence. We are following institutional protocols to establish authenticity and facts. And as such, the speaker has written to the affected councillor and is awaiting his feedback.”

Cogta MEC Xolile Nqatha’s spokesperson Makhaya Komisa said he would only give a comment after he had confirmed receipt of the letter from Nqatha.

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