Mayor enjoys political protection, say furious worker at municipality

Thanduxolo Khalipa. Picture: File.

Thanduxolo Khalipa. Picture: File.

Published Jan 23, 2024

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In a shocking video that’s now gone viral, an employee of Matjhabeng Local Municipality in the Free State has made explosive allegations against Matjhabeng mayor Thanduxolo Khalipa.

Msebenzi Dikana, a general worker and SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) shop-steward claimed that Khalipha was “surrounded by criminals” and received protection from Free State Premier Mxolisi Dukwana, President Cyril Ramaphosa and members of Cabinet.

Dikana further accused the mayor of engaging in dictatorial behaviour and misusing municipal resources. These claims have sparked widespread concern and demand for further investigation into Khalipha.

It has been revealed that since the beginning of January 2023, service providers have reportedly withdrawn a staggering R300 million from municipal bank accounts. This alarming revelation comes after Khalipa’s refusal to compensate service providers who have completed work for the municipality, resulting in significant financial losses, including a reported R40m due to legal costs.

In response to these developments, Samwu members have announced plans to stage a protest on Monday, January 29, to demand the immediate resignation of Khalipa in light of the serious allegations levelled against him.

The municipality and its residents are now facing a crisis of confidence as these allegations continue to unfold. With mounting pressure and public outcry, the need for a thorough investigation into the claims against Khalipa has never been more urgent.

This situation underscores the importance of transparency and accountability in local governance, and it is essential that these allegations are thoroughly and impartially addressed for the well-being of the community and the integrity of the municipality.

In November, 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 Khalipha 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 a 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.

The Star previously 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 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 ‒ R1.5m 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.

Attempts to get comment from the mayor were unsuccessful at the time of print.

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