Ex-mayor shot amid municipal mayhem

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Johannesburg - The former mayor of the Waterberg district municipality, Eric Gwangwa, was shot on Tuesday during the disorder that erupted on the premises of the Mogalakwena local municipality in Mokopane, Limpopo.

Gwangwa’s shooting is the latest episode of the anarchy that continues to play out at the ANC-controlled council.

Mogalakwena falls under the Waterberg district council.

Spokesman for the local municipality Malesela Selokela said Gwangwa, who was shot in the leg, was rushed to hospital. He said Gwangwa was part of a rowdy group that had earlier broken down the municipality’s gate and forced its way onto the premises.

He would not say who shot Gwangwa, but confirmed the former mayor was shot near the council chamber. The shooting took place while a special council meeting was under way inside the chamber.

“I heard about seven gunshots. I was unable to see exactly who shot him,” said Selokela.

He said some of ANC councillors who were sacked by the municipality last week for boycotting a series of council meetings were among the disruptive group.

“They even broke the gate and forced their way onto the premises. The police were there and they just looked on,” said Selokela.

Provincial police spokeswoman Colonel Ronel Otto referred enquiries to her superior, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi. He could not be reached on either his cellphone or his office line.

For a long time, the Mogalakwena municipality has hogged the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

In July, the ANC provincial executive fired 22 councillors for colluding with the opposition to remove former mayor Tlhalefi Mashamaite and chief whip David Langa.

The two men had been implicated by a KPMG forensic report in corrupt activity totalling R1.5 million.

They have denied wrongdoing.

The 22 ANC councillors, among them mayor Malose Mabuela, Speaker Meelba Mabusela and former mayor Esther Mothibi, defied the party by remaining in their positions.

The rebel councillors teamed up with their opposition colleagues last week to kick out their 27 ANC colleagues for boycotting council meetings.

Mashamaite and Langa are among the group of 27 who were expelled last week.

Gwangwa’s shooting comes on the heels of the killing of civic organisation leader Piet Pale in July.

Pale, a vocal critic of Mashamaite and Premier Stan Mathabatha’s leadership, was gunned down outside his home in Mahwelereng.

His killers are still at large.

Former Mogalakwena Speaker Lleka Lekalakala, who was considered by some as an anti-corruption activist, was mysteriously killed in 2006.

No one has been arrested for his death.

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