Embattled Matjhabeng mayor Thanduxolo Khalipha, accused of misusing municipal funds for the ANC election campaign as well as using a municipal service provider to construct his R3.4 million home, was recently slapped with a suspended 30-day prison sentence.
Last Friday, Khaliphi, alongside advocate Ronald Ngoqo, appeared in the Bloemfontein High Court following an urgent application filed by Joseph Ndayi.
Ndayi sought a contempt of court order after the duo failed to comply with a previous order to reconnect his services after they were disconnected by the municipality.
Acting Judge Duduzile Mthimunye of the Free State High Court ordered the imprisonment of Matjhabeng’s mayor and municipal manager.
The court order indicated that the pair, together with the municipality, were in contempt of court.
The court order had directed them to restore services to the complainant that had been disconnected, with Judge Mthimunye in court judgment dated November 10 ordering for the pair’s 30-day imprisonment, which was subsequently suspended provided they comply with a court order to pay.
In a previous court order handed down by Judge Joseph Mhlambi, they were directed to restore the complainant's utility services, including prepaid electricity, to return any property seized, and to write a responding affidavit to the court following the judgment against them.
Last week, The Star reported that the mayor was embroiled in serious allegations for alleged misuse of municipal funds for the benefit of the ANC election campaign in the upcoming 2024 elections.
A source close to the situation alleged that the mayor instructed the municipal finance department to pay four companies ‒ Practicon Trading, Poloko Trading, Bereng Logistics and GT Glorifica Trading ‒ R1.5 million each in order for the companies to be able to secure vehicles to be used for an election campaign of the ANC in the province.
OFM News previously reported that ActionSA called for Matjhabeng to be placed under administration and the council to be dissolved.
The municipality’s account was recently attached after two service providers sued the municipality for payment of over R120m. At least 11 service providers are reportedly demanding a payment of R750m from the troubled municipality.
However, last week Khakipha denied allegations by ActionSA Free State chairperson Patricia Kopane that Khalipha used a municipal service provider to construct his R3.4m home, and that the daughter of the service provider was employed in his, Khalipha’s, office.
Speaking to Newzroom Afrika, Khalipha said he did not have a R3.4m house as he was staying in Thabong.
“I stay in Thabong in the township and I don’t own any property worth R3.4m,” the mayor said. She has already indicated the matter is going to the public protector and we welcome it and we will wait for the outcome. .
Khalipha directed Kopane to approach the Deeds Office to satisfy herself over her accusations.
“She can go to the Deeds Office; you don’t even need to go to the public protector. Go to the Deeds Office to check whether the mayor owns any property worth that amount ... the only property I own is in Thabong,” he said.