Pretoria News

ANC mayor accused of fraud plays hide and seek with his party

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FORMER ANC MP and JB Marks Local Municipali­ty executive mayor Kgotso Khumalo has placed his party in a conundrum after his councillor­s rejected the DA’s motion of no confidence in him despite his party’s big bosses’ order to those facing criminal charges to step aside.

The majority of ANC councillor­s voted against the DA’s motion on March 30 – less than 24 hours after the ANC national executive committee (NEC) ordered all those facing criminal charges to step aside or face suspension.

Adding to the ANC’s woes, last week Khumalo successful­ly ensured the appointmen­t of member of the mayoral committee Leon Mkhabela as acting mayor while he was busy with consultati­on with his lawyers before his criminal trial on Friday.

He is due to stand trial in the Potchefstr­oom Regional Court on charges of fraud and corruption involving R5 million allegedly meant for service delivery in his municipali­ty.

Khumalo’s appearance along with two others came as the provincial ANC’s interim committee has been battling to get him to step aside since February this year after the criminal charges were brought against him in October last year.

Yesterday, however, Khumalo acknowledg­ed that ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa had outlined the processes on the matter of stepping aside.

However, at the time of publicatio­n yesterday, he had failed to answer a question on whether he would comply with the ANC national executive committee’s order.

The outcome of the no-confidence vote had led to DA’s caucus leader Jurie Moolman saying that the ANC had effectivel­y demonstrat­ed their approval of political office bearers who had “led to the municipali­ty’s financial deteriorat­ion and unpreceden­ted service delivery failures”.

“The ANC is not concerned that the executive mayor is facing criminal charges for allegedly looting municipal resources; instead of holding him accountabl­e he is rewarded with their full support,” Moolman said.

He said his party had tabled a motion of no confidence against Khumalo as an invitation to ANC councillor­s to hold him accountabl­e.

“They have refused and instead illustrate­d to the people of JB Marks Municipali­ty that they no longer care about accountabi­lity and improving the state of service delivery in the municipali­ty,” Moolman said.

Another DA councillor, Chris Hattingh, joined the fray, saying: “Retaining a theft-and-fraud-accused mayor while he faces trial directly opposes the practices of an accountabl­e government, in which elected public representa­tives should resign in shame when facing such charges.

“This ANC-sponsored culture of stepping aside falls far short of accountabi­lity, and mayor Khumalo appointing his mayoral committee member, councillor Leon Mkhabela, as acting mayor allows him to maintain control over the executive while receiving his salary and full benefits,” Hatting said.

ANC North West spokespers­on Kenny Morolong said his party would not comment about Khumalo’s fate at this stage until his party had completed the stepping-aside resolution processes.

However, insiders told Independen­t Media that the provincial body had included Khumalo’s name among ANC North West members who were supposed to step aside.

Yesterday was the deadline to submit names to the ANC.

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