Lim­popo mayor ‘mess­ing with funds’

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - MOLOKO MOLOTO

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.

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