Durban — KwaZulu-Natal Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi has expressed shock at the remarks in a circulating voice recording allegedly made by Abaqulusi Local Municipality mayor Mncedisi Maphisa.
The MEC said that, in the recording heard by the department, Maphisa is heard allegedly telling staff to fire an employee. He also allegedly makes sexual remarks about female workers in the municipality, reducing them to his sexual subjects.
Abaqulusi Local Municipality is in the Zululand district, and its offices are in Vryheid. The MEC said she would write to the council’s ethics committee to investigate the matter.
“Amidst the scourge of violent crimes against women and children in the country, I wish to strongly condemn the misogynistic remarks by the mayor, and I am also concerned about the political interference in the firing of staff and therefore call for the Abaqulusi ethics committee to investigate this clip,” said the MEC.
Sithole-Moloi added that, should the ethics committee fail to do its work, she was committed to establishing a departmental team to probe this matter and administer consequence management based on its findings. Furthermore, the MEC called on the mayor to retract his derogatory remarks about women and issue a speedy public apology, saying it was counter-productive for campaigns to abolish gender-based violence for a person of influence to make such utterances.
The mayor is the third senior IFP official to be caught in a scandal. In October last year, the same municipality speaker, who is also an IFP member, was heard allegedly instructing the municipal manager to hire the children of the late councillor Phaphama Mbatha.
In a video that went viral, where Khumalo was addressing a group of party members and the grieving family of IFP councillor Phaphama Mbatha, he was allegedly heard instructing the municipal manager to ensure he finds space for the late councillor’s children. This prompted IFP leadership to act, and he was summoned to appear before the political oversight committee. However, it is not clear whether the party found him guilty or not.
A few days later, another audio clip purportedly by the deputy mayor of the same municipality, Mandla Mazibuko, emerged, in which he allegedly referred to the community members who were marching as baboons.
When contacted, Mayor Maphisa asked for questions to be sent to him as he was in a meeting. However, he had not yet responded to them at the time of publication. The IFP had also not yet responded to questions on the matter at the time of going to press.
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