The member of the mayoral committee who got arrested during a council sitting of the eMalahleni municipality may be fired, 013NEWS has established.
This past Wednesday the Hawks nabbed Johannes Matshipa, who is a member of mayor Lindiwe Ntshalintshali’s executive, committee for land fraud.
The 49-year-old Matshipa was arrested with three others – Mbuswana Mdluli (39), Ntombi Sibuyi (44) and Augustine Mkhwanazi (59) – and are facing charges of fraud and money laundering at the eMalahleni Magistrate’s Court.
The fraud and money laundering charges relate to the leasing of land in Ga-Nala – where the council leased land to two farmers, but money that was supposed to go to municipal coffers allegedly went to a company called ‘Nutra Trading and Projects’, registered under Sibuyi’s name.
Sibuyi is a member of the municipal cooperative governance department, Mdluli a former ward councillor and Mkhwanazi a former speaker of the municipality.
Municipal spokesman Kingdom Mabuza told 013NEWS on Friday evening that Matshipa will have to present his side of the story to Ntshalintshali.
“They will meet with the mayor who will take the issue to the ANC, remember he is an ANC deployee,” Mabuza said.
A source who is a former member of the regional executive committee of the ANC in the Nkangala region and who is currently employed by the municipality says Matshipa and Sibuyi “will definitely be suspended, according to what I’ve heard in the corridors”.
“Remember there has always been this cloud of the municipality being the most corrupt in Mpumalanga, so the leadership had to find the individuals to sacrifice with, individuals to say ‘look, here we are fighting corruption, not nursing it’,” he said.
“The R1.6 million that the four were arrested for is money that dates back to 2013, so you see. It was accumulated since that time and these officials are not huge players in the ANC politics, as you know Matshipa was removed as the chief whip of the municipality and replaced with [a] more powerful individual in the determining slates,” the source said.
The four were released on R5000 bail each – their case postponed to 21 April 2017 – on condition that “they must not interfere with members of the management of the eMalahleni municipality,” Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi said.
Attempts to draw comments from ANC regional spokesman Sello Matshoga were unsuccessful on Saturday as his phone rang unanswered.
(edited by ZK)
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