ANC probe in Tlokwe was slow – Nkwinti

9th July 2013 By: Sapa

An African National Congress (ANC) probe into claims of corruption against former Tlokwe mayor Maphetle Maphetle was slow, the party's national executive committee (NEC) member Gugile Nkwinti said on Monday.

This, however, did not warrant the party's councillors in the municipality voting him out of office, Nkwinti said in Potchefstroom.

"From our side we should have been faster perhaps, but they should not have been so impatient as well as to act in the manner which they have done, bringing the ANC into disrepute.

"We have not said those allegations are not true... Now before we did that [investigated] they acted again."

On Tuesday Maphetle was unseated for a second time since November, when Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor Annette Combrink was voted in as the new mayor.

DA North West leader Chris Hattingh said at the time that 29 councillors of all parties, including the ANC, unanimously voted to return Combrink to the position of mayor.

On Wednesday, the North West ANC's provincial disciplinary committee said its 14 councillors who voted to unseat Maphetle were expelled from the party. They would also be removed as Tlokwe councillors.

While the DA was in charge last year, it requested a forensic investigation into irregularities at the municipality.

The probe found that the council had irregularly bought Maphetle a R736 000 customised Mercedes-Benz. Maphetle had allegedly abused the municipality's disaster management fund and poverty relief fund. The report contains a recommendation that formal disciplinary action be taken against him and other officials.

In May, the DA laid criminal charges against Maphetle. In June Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said she would investigate the claims of corruption involving Maphetle.

Nkwinti said the NEC had endorsed an investigation into the claims against Maphetle. Again on Monday the former mayor was told the investigation would go ahead. The matter would be referred to the ANC's integrity committee.

However, he said action needed to be taken against those ANC councillors who sided with the DA and voted Maphetle out.

"Remember there was a vote and the ANC was elected into power by the people here. The people have not yet expressed themselves and said they don't want the ANC."

He said the "balance of forces" could not be changed and there could not be a party in power without a mandate from the people.

Nkwinti, who is the NEC deployee in the province, attended a provincial working committee (PWC) meeting on Monday to discuss Maphetle's unseating and the appointment of new proportional representation councillors. A by-election would be held soon to elect new ward councillors.

After the PWC meeting Nkwinti and the ANC's provincial leadership went on a walkabout at the Potchefstroom taxi rank. After speaking to people Nkwinti said "it's not looking good for the ANC. Services are not coming through."

People told Nkwinti they did not have houses, and that Tlokwe's budget had been sent to Wolmaransstad.

A woman in a wheelchair told him she did not have a decent home and the roads were not good.

North West ANC secretary Gordon Kegakilwe said the party was doing well in the area.

"We are here now in the taxi rank to tell the people that it's only the African National Congress that can change their lives for the better.

"We have achieved a lot. Our people now have electricity, our people have water, Tlokwe municipality is providing them with blue drop status of water. The roads are tarred in the location which you have never seen before. We are saying to our people it is only the ANC which can keep providing," he said.

However, several residents earlier said they were happy the DA had taken control of Tlokwe and hoped for better services.

Kegakilwe said the ANC had filed papers in the High Court in Johannesburg to have Tuesday's council meeting, at which Maphetle was unseated, declared null.

"For now, as the ANC we don't recognise that meeting, we don't recognise Combrink," he said.

"Combrink will never do anything for the people of Tlokwe... she will never assist the people, she has never assisted them. They will keep on promising what they can't achieve," Kegakilwe said.

He said the ANC was confident it would win the court case.

"We are confident, we have studied all the documents and we are quite sure. Her [Combrink's] mayorship is not recognised. Comrade Maphtle is the ANC mayor."