Merafong municipality mayor mum on her future amid calls for her resignation over VBS investments
Johannesburg - Merafong Local Municipality mayor Maphefo Mogale-Letsie remains tight-lipped about her future in council following the Gauteng ANC’s call for her to step down following her alleged failure to act against officials who invested municipal funds in VBS Mutual Bank.
On Sunday, ANC Gauteng secretary Jacob Khawe announced his party has decided to remove Mogale-Letsie as mayor and former West Rand District Municipality mayor and told parliamentarian Boycie Maneli to step down.
It is, however, believed Mogale-Letsie and Maneli are considering appealing the ANC’s ruling.
Khawe said his party was acting on the recommendations of the provincial integrity committee (PIC) who conducted the probe into the R50 million investment by Merafong and R77m by West Rand District Council.
At the time, Khawe said: “The PIC’s finding is that although they could not establish that the two mayors were involved in any acts of corruption, the PIC recommended that Cde Boyce Maneli and Cde Maphefo Letsie should be held accountable for failure to take action against officials. Accordingly, they should step down from the positions to which they are elected.
“The PEC deliberated extensively on the report and decided to accept the findings and recommendations of the PIC. Accordingly, Cde Maphefo Letsie-Mogale will step down as the executive mayor of Merafong Local Municipality and Cde Boyce Maneli will step down as a member of parliament,” Khawe said.
Asked to comment on the ANC’s decision, Mogale-Letsie refused to comment on whether she could comply with the instruction.
Maneli was not available to comment at the time of publishing.
However, sources within ANC in the West Rand and Sanco have indicated they would ask Mogale-Letsie and Maneli to appeal the ANC’s decision.
According to ANC insiders, the municipality under Mogale-Letsie had acted against Martha Chauke and Thys Wienekus – now charged with investing the R50m.
According to the sources, Chauke and Wienekus were served with a final written warning which was valid for 12 months.
“So it is not true that Merafong failed to act against the officials. This is enough proof that they must appeal against the ruling,” one of the sources said.
The Gauteng ANC’s decision came as Wienekus is widely expected to sign a Section 205 statement where he would accept responsibility for investing the municipal funds.
According to sources, Wienekus – who was manager treasury and budgeting – was allegedly instructed through an email to invest the R50m with VBS before 12noon on June 23, 2017.
He was an acting chief financial officer for three days, at the time, while the incumbent Rinkie Ngwenya was on leave.
Wienekus was charged with the offence on June 25 at the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court.
He made his last court appearance on July 29.
The matter was postponed for negotiation to proceed regarding a possible plea and sentence agreement.
He was charged with irregular expenditure under the Municipal Finance Management Act for his role in depositing R50 million with VBS bank.
Wienekus is due back in court on September 29.