Matlosana Mayor resigns, accused of stealing ANC donation funds

Matlosana Mayor James Tsolela abruptly resigned from his lucrative job on Monday following an instruction from his party to step down. Photo: Facebook

Matlosana Mayor James Tsolela abruptly resigned from his lucrative job on Monday following an instruction from his party to step down. Photo: Facebook

Published Jun 30, 2024


The Mayor of the city of Matlosana, James Tsolela, abruptly resigned from his lucrative job on Monday following an instruction from his party to step down after it emerged that he dribbled a donor into giving him money, which he allegedly never delivered to the ANC when he was the fund-raising for the party.

In April, the Sunday Independent revealed that the ANC in the North West had written to the party’s leadership informing them that the province had resolved that Tsolela should resign; and the chief financial officer (CFO), Mercy Phetla, be suspended pending the outcome of the corruption investigation against her

In the letter directed to the party’s secretary-general Fikile Mbalula, the ANC in the North West said the provincial leadership had been inundated with several issues from municipalities that warranted immediate and decisive leadership.

The allegations were first published on the basis of documented evidence revealing that Tsolela had allegedly solicited funds from service providers, which were then deposited into his personal bank account but never disclosed to the ANC.

In what appeared to be an election campaign strategy, Tsolela hung on to his mayoral position although his fate had already been sealed by his political bosses.

In his notice of resignation dated June 24, addressed to the speaker of Matlosana, Tsolela said his resignation was by no means an admission of guilt.

“I hereby resign as the executive mayor of the City of Matlosana Municipalities, with immediate effect. I thank the ANC for allowing me to serve the people of Matlosana as the executive mayor, the job I did with utmost diligence.

“I remain ethical and loyal to my oath of office as the councillor of Matlosana of the City of Matlosana and I will continue to serve the people of this city even when I am no longer the Executive Mayor. l hope and trust that you will find this in order,” he said.

Tsolela did not respond to questions on whether the corruption allegations had cost him his job.

In April, an ANC donor and businessman, Patrick Mokasule, whose wife is the Director of GMHM Construction and Projects, which was awarded a paraffin tender in the Matlosana municipality, disclosed to the Sunday Independent that he had given Tsolela money under the impression that it was going to the ANC in the province.

Phetla, who is Tsolela’s former ally and now suspended CFO of the Matlosana Municipality, landed in hot water after she was arrested on charges of corruption following a police report that she allegedly received a bribe in the form of a vehicle worth R1.4 million from GMHM.

Her bail of R35 000 was paid by Masego Mokasule, the son of Phetla’s co-accused, Nomthandazo Mokasule, the wife of Patrick Mokasule.

Tsolela and Phetla’s relationship appeared to have hit rock bottom after a leaked WhatsApp message between the two revealed that they had threatened to “deal with each other”, when it emerged that Tsolela had received funds from Mokasule but never delivered it as intended.

At the time, Mokasule responded to the publication, alleging that the two had been milking him for a long time., “When they see me, they see a cash cow that must always be sucked for money. Now that they’re fighting, they want to drag and put everyone under the bus.”

Tsolela in turn told the Sunday Independent that he took full responsibility for the transaction and that he had requested Phetla to help him fundraise for his party.

“Firstly she didn’t threaten me, she was just making her intentions clear to fight with Mr Mokasulule to protect her reputation.

“I was acting in my capacity as the fund-raiser and I didn’t benefit personally from this payment. It was used for its intended purpose. You must have noticed that this happened before the CFO was arrested. I strongly believe that my actions are justified because, outside my deployment position, I have a political responsibility to execute for the benefit of my political home,” said Tsolela.

Following his resignation, a Special Council Meeting was held and the Acting Municipal Manager, Mr Baganne Choche, was mandated to declare the vacancy of the Executive Mayor which is expected to be filled this week.

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