Fraud-accused ANC mayor plays hide and seek with his party
Johannesburg - Former ANC MP and JB Marks Local Municipality executive mayor Kgotso Khumalo has placed his party in a conundrum after his councillors rejected the DA’s motion of no confidence against him despite his party’s big bosses’ order to those facing criminal charges to step aside.
The majority of ANC councillors voted against the DA’s motion on March 30 – less than 24 hours after the ANC national executive committee ordered all those facing criminal charges to step aside or face suspension.
Adding to the ANC’s woes, last week Khumalo successfully ensured the appointment of member of the mayoral committee Leon Mkhabela as acting mayor while he was busy with consultation with his lawyers before his criminal trial on Friday.
He is due to stand trial in the Potchefstroom Regional Court on charges of fraud and corruption involving R5 million allegedly meant for service delivery in his municipality.
Khumalo’s appearance along with two others came as the provincial ANC’s interim committee has been battling to get him to step aside since February this year after the criminal charges were brought against him in October last year.
On Thursday, however, Khumalo acknowledged that ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa had outlined the processes on the matter of stepping aside.
But at the time of publication on Thursday he had failed to answer a question on whether he would comply with the ANC national executive committee’s order.
The outcome of the no-confidence vote had led to DA’s caucus leader Jurie Moolman saying that the ANC had effectively demonstrated their approval of political office bearers who had “led to the municipality’s financial deterioration and unprecedented service delivery failures”.
“The ANC is not concerned that the executive mayor is facing criminal charges for allegedly looting municipal resources; instead of holding him accountable he is rewarded with their full support,” Moolman said.
He said his party had tabled a motion of no confidence against Khumalo as an invitation to ANC councillors to hold him accountable.
“They have refused and instead illustrated to the people of JB Marks Municipality that they no longer care about accountability and improving the state of service delivery in the municipality,” Moolman said.
Another DA councillor, Chris Hattingh, joined the fray, saying: “Retaining a theft-and-fraud-accused mayor while he faces trial directly opposes the practices of an accountable government, in which elected public representatives should resign in shame when facing such charges.
“This ANC-sponsored culture of stepping aside falls far short of accountability, and mayor Khumalo appointing his mayoral committee member, Councillor Leon Mkhabela, as acting mayor allows him to maintain control over the executive while receiving his salary and full benefits,” Hatting said.
ANC North West spokesperson Kenny Morolong said his party would not comment about Khumalo’s fate at this stage until his party had completed the stepping-aside resolution processes.
However, insiders told Independent Media that the provincial body had included Khumalo’s name among ANC North West members who are supposed to step aside.
Thursday was the deadline to submit names to the ANC.