Officials step down after deadly protest

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Copy of STp1main Brits472.JPG (39259195) INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Residents of Mothutlung, outside Brits, burnt tyres and barricaded roads after a fatal protest demanding water. File photo: Dumisani Sibeko

North West - The mayor of Madibeng local municipality, Poppy Magongwa, and two of her lieutenants were forced to resign their council positions by the ANC for allegedly protecting corrupt officials in the municipality.

Magongwa, speaker Buti Makhongela and ANC chief whip Solly Malete tendered their resignations following a special council meeting on Tuesday.

The Star understands that their “resignations” follow an instruction by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe after meeting top officials of the ANC in the Bojanala district in Brits on Sunday.

On Monday, Magongwa performed her penultimate duties as mayor as she visited the Damonsville home of Enoch Seimela – the fourth victim of a shooting incident during last week’s service delivery protests.

Seimela succumbed to his injuries after being in a coma for six days after being shot in the head during a protest in Brits on January 13.

Magongwa was replaced by Matshidiso Mangoathe as mayor.

Councillor Douglas Maimane, who was attacked by residents during the memorial service for the victims on Friday, was elected as the new speaker.

The ANC’s Simon Klaas was elected as the party’s chief whip at the same meeting.

Mantashe’s directive was further endorsed by the ANC’s national working committee on Monday when it met at Luthuli House.

The ANC has put the blame squarely on its senior ANC officials, including the mayor, and their inability to deal with corrupt officials.

The party had also blamed the municipality for failing to implement the recommendations of former minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs Richard Baloyi in curbing corruption in the municipality.

Now, the ANC leadership in the municipality has been ordered to institute disciplinary action and criminal prosecution of all departmental heads implicated in the Baloyi report with immediate effect.

The Madibeng municipality was expected to issue a statement on Wednesday.

DA caucus leader Leon Basson welcomed the resignations, saying they were long overdue.

“The ANC’s decision was too little, too late. Four people had to die before the ANC could take a decision and remove their councillors implicated in certain acts of corruption.”

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