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VBS looting: ANC mayors linked to banking scandal refuse to step down

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VBS looting: ANC mayors linked to banking scandal refuse to step down

6th December 2018

By: News24Wire

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Seven mayors in the North West, including four implicated in a report on the collapse of VBS Mutual Bank, are refusing to resign in spite of being instructed to do so by the African National Congress's (ANC's) provincial task team.

Four mayors affected by the task team's decision are seeking legal advice.

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This week the task team resolved that mayors from seven municipalities, including Madibeng, Moretele, Mahikeng and Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati which invested R314-million in the defunct bank, should be recalled and referred to the ANC's integrity commission.

The mayors of the Maquassi Hills, Mamusa and Kagisano Molopo councils were instructed to resign "in the interest of public confidence" and the restoration of effective service delivery. 

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The task team announced Segomotso Virginia Mere as the new mayoral candidate for Kagisano Molopo. The previous mayor, Bitsa Lenkopane, was removed through a motion of no confidence on July 13.

The mayors of Mamusa, Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati, Maquassi Hills and Kagisano Molopo municipalities are seeking legal advice on the task team's decision.

Claims of a 'purge'

Mamusa Mayor Aaron Motswana, who is one of the party members also challenging a national executive committee decision to disband the provincial executive committee (PEC) and appoint the provincial task team, says they are going nowhere and have resolved to seek legal advice.

He claims the mayors learnt of their axing via the media and has accused the task team of "purging" those seen to be aligned with Supra Mahumapelo, who is the former premier and ANC provincial chairperson.

Mahumapelo was forced to step down and took "early retirement" in May following violent protests throughout the province calling for him to step down as premier.

In September, his PEC was disbanded by the ANC national executive committee (NEC) and although he was included among those who were selected to serve in the provincial task team, he refused, accusing the interim structure of being made up of people seeking to "purge" those who did not support President Cyril Ramaphosa's bid to lead the ANC in the 2017 national elective conference.

He has since joined Motswana and three others to fight the decision in the South Gauteng High Court.

"There are worse-performing municipalities in this province, who owe Eskom money, yet they are being left alone," Motswana complained.

PTT 'desperate to get hands on coffers'

He accused the interim structure of ignoring the terms of reference set out for it by the NEC.

"We need to show the NEC that they (task team) are not promoting unity but instead pursuing their own agenda.

"The PTT (provincial task team) is so desperate to get its cronies into municipalities and it shows these removals are motivated by extreme thirst to get their hands on the coffers of municipalities," said Motswana.

He also told News24 he believed he was being targeted because he was one of the ANC members challenging the disbandment of Mahumapelo's PEC.

"The PTT instead of trying to unite us, is handpicking some of us. I know I am one of them," he insisted.

Motswana questioned how his municipality was found to be dysfunctional yet it was not one of those placed under administration when Ramaphosa placed the province under administration.

"The Cogta (Cooperative governance and traditional affairs) minister came to Mamusa and he said they would work with the municipality to strengthen its capacity," argued Motswana.

But the provincial task team's spokesperson, Kabelo Mataboge, dismissed the claims of a purge levelled against it, telling News24 the party members needed to respect the structure's decisions.

"What we need to make quite clear, these are positions of the ANC and the ANC has the right to deploy or redeploy its members based on merit. We therefore appeal to the conscience of those members to comply with the decisions of a higher structure," said Mataboge.

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