It’s been almost a year now since his troubles started.
An ANC councillor from the Mpumalanga town of Amersfoort is getting paid his full salary despite being in jail, faced with serious charges of fraud and corruption.
Last week Obed Shabangu, who remains in custody, made his appearance at the Amersfoort Magistrate Court to ask the court to release him on bail.
He is accused of selling RDP homes to people who were not on the list of beneficiaries. He was arrested two days after he celebrated last year’s 16 December holiday and again on 25 July 2019 after he broke his bail conditions.
But since his arrest last year December the ANC has not taken any decision to remove Shabangu from his job, choosing instead to pay him while in jail.
Councillors are paid around R26 000 a month to do the community work they were elected to do and that is what Shabangu is entitled to as a councillor while he languishes in jail for fraud and corruption.
Last week Tuesday 29 October 2019 the EFF in Mpumalanga brought up the issue of Shabangu getting paid while in jail during a legislature sitting.
They asked co-operative MEC Mandla Msibi to remove Shabangu from the government’s payroll to face the charges he is faced with.
The state revoked Shabangu’s R50 000 bail in July 2019 after a witness reported to officials he tried to convince her to drop “the serious case that will make him go to jail for many years”.
The state issued a warrant of arrest against the 42-year-old Pixley ka Seme local municipality’s ward 7 councillor.
He challenged the decision that resulted in his bail revoked, arguing the witness is lying and has personal issues with him.
Shabangu will hear on 18 November 2019 whether he should be released on bail or not when the magistrate will make ruling on the application he made to ask the court to set aside the decision that resulted in his bail being revoked.
He is accused of selling RDP houses, including one dramatic incident last year in which he allegedly went to a man’s home to forcefully take his furniture for allegedly not paying him the money of the RDP given to the man.
EFF provincial secretary Gcina Mofokeng said they support the state in the matter of Shabangu and wanted to send the message that “selling people’s houses is a punishable crime’.
He said in the legislature they explained the way in which the councillor has been paid.
“We said it’s wrong for a public representative to be getting paid by government while in jail for selling people’s house, and the MEC promised to take action. We will make strong follow-ups to ensure the actions are really taken,” said Mofokeng.
(edited by ZK)
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