Limpopo mayor ‘messing with funds’
THE DA alleges that the axed mayor of Mogalakwena Local Municipality in Limpopo has attempted to fiddle with public funds – two days after his dramatic return as mayor.
DA provincial leader and MPL Jacques Smalle said Tlhalefi Mashamaite, who returned to his position as mayor with the help of the police on Monday, had demanded chequebooks and access to the municipal safe.
“The DA understands that there was resistance from officials, leading to the largerthan-life Mashamaite using physical force to obtain the municipal property,” he said.
Mashamaite denied the claim. “The allegation is not true, they should provide evidence or facts,” he said.
Mashamaite was removed unceremoniously in April before he made his return with the police’s help.
A group of 22 ANC councillors teamed up with their opposition colleagues to remove him after a KPMG forensic report implicated him in the alleged misuse of R1.5 million. Mashamaite, who is supported by the ANC provincial executive, has denied embezzling funds.
The ANC fired its 22 councillors – including his successor Malose Mabuela, Speaker Meelba Mabusela and former mayor Esther Mothibi – in July for collaborating with the opposition to topple Mashamaite. However, they remained in their positions.
But after he was reinstated on Monday, the expelled councillors never returned. Instead, they held a “council meeting” at a lodge outside Mokopane, where they resolved that all other ANC members, including Mashamaite, be dismissed as councillors.
They want Co-operative Governance MEC Makoma Makhurupetje to fire the 16 ANC councillors in the Mashamaite-led faction.
But it’s unlikely the MEC will heed their resolution because she considers them fired, after she won a court bid to have their vacancies contested through by-elections that were held yesterday.