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DA KZN welcomes the IFP’s suspension of AbaQulusi mayor and Alfred Duma councillor

DA leader in KZN Francois Rodgers. Picture: Facebook

DA leader in KZN Francois Rodgers. Picture: Facebook

Published Feb 28, 2023


Durban — The DA in KwaZulu-Natal has welcomed the strong action taken by the IFP to suspend the AbaQulusi Local Municipality mayor and an Alfred Duma Local Municipality councillor for making questionable statements and after accusations of sex for jobs on Monday.

Most recently, an IFP councillor is facing criminal charges after he allegedly used a month-to-month contract to get sex from women desperate to keep their jobs. One of the women – who claimed to have had sex with an IFP councillor in Alfred Duma Local Municipality – has laid charges of rape against him.

Provincial police spokesperson Constable Thenjiswa Ngcobo said Ladysmith police are investigating a case of rape.

Last week, in a recording, AbaQulusi mayor Mncedisi 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.

DA KZN leader Francois Rodgers said that AbaQulusi mayor Mncedisi Maphisa was implicated in allegations involving his wish to be consulted and involved in the appointment of officials in his municipality, and a councillor in the Alfred Duma had been caught out in a sex-for-jobs scandal after a crude voice note from him surfaced.

“The DA in both municipalities had called for both IFP members to be suspended pending the outcome of investigations. We further call for both of them to appear before respective ethics committees to account for their actions, and where criminal behaviour is found, face the full might of the law,” Rodgers said.

“We believe the action by the IFP is a step in the right direction and is in the best interests of good governance and ensuring fit-for-purpose individuals occupy seats in government.”

Rodgers said they would continue to engage the IFP on outstanding issues in the uThukela District Municipality and trusted they would also intervene in the governance crisis that had overtaken that council.

IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the national executive committee (NEC) on Monday considered these latest developments and resolved them as follows:

  1. The AbaQulusi mayor is suspended from the party with immediate effect and is directed to take leave from municipal duties with immediate effect.
  2. The AbaQulusi deputy mayor is to act as mayor with immediate effect.
  3. The Alfred Duma Municipality councillor implicated in the audio clip is suspended with immediate effect from the party and is directed to take leave as a councillor with immediate effect.
  4. The Alfred Duma Municipality speaker is directed to ensure that service delivery is not adversely impacted in the affected ward.
  5. The affected councillors will appear before the NEC at a special meeting scheduled to sit no later than March 5.

“The IFP reaffirms the rights of women in the workplace to perform their jobs free from harassment and intimidation,” Hlengwa said.

“The IFP considers these matters to be of a very serious nature, and as such, they are receiving the priority attention of the party through investigation.”

The IFP’s announcement came after DA Alfred Duma caucus leader councillor Mike Suddaby called for the suspension of the municipality’s alleged “sexual predator” councillor.

Suddaby said the DA in the municipality had written to the mayor, Zama Sibisi, and the speaker, councillor Bheki Sithole, to request that an executive committee member implicated in a “sex for jobs” scandal be suspended pending investigation.

Reacting to the audio, Suddaby said: “This audio is disgusting and demeaning. If it is indeed the accused, (this man’s) actions will have brought all councillors in the municipality, especially those in leadership positions, into disgrace and disfavour with the community.”

He said the DA demands that he be suspended from all council duties with immediate effect, pending an investigation by the municipality, the SAPS and his political party.

“In addition, he must refrain from posting anything on social media, including messages on WhatsApp, in relation to this matter. Furthermore, the 24/7 close protection officials assigned to him be withdrawn with immediate effect,” Suddaby said.

“He undoubtedly does not require this very expensive ratepayer-funded protection as we can safely assume that these protection officials were not present and were unaware of his whereabouts or actions when the recording was made, seemingly in a motor vehicle.”

Suddaby said the edited and unedited version of the “Sex for Jobs” recordings has filled many of the community with shame and disgust to such an extent that they called for a community meeting.

Meanwhile, KZN cooperative governance and traditional affairs (cogta) portfolio committee chairperson Zinhle Cele expressed outrage at rape allegations levelled against an IFP councillor in the Alfred Duma Local Municipality.

“As the cogta portfolio committee responsible for playing an oversight role over municipalities in KZN including clean governance, we are deeply shocked by these serious allegations levelled against the Alfred Duma Municipality councillor.

“We call upon our Cogta MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi to take decisive action and launch a full and independent investigation into these allegations without further delay… We cannot tolerate the abuse of vulnerable women by a sex pest who masquerades as a public representative,” Cele said.

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