#Focus camp in Gert Sibande accused of mission to only give jobs to loyal supporters

Muzi Chirwa's camp on a mission to give jobs to loyal comrades
WIELDING POWER: Gert Sibande ANC chairman Muzi Chirwa is on the final offensive to consolidate his power base ahead of crucial congresses that will determine his political future. PICTURE BY 013NEWS/MLM

An opposing camp charges that this will continue to put the image of the ANC in bad faith.

The #Focus camp in Gert Sibande is accused of working towards giving jobs to comrades who are loyal to regional chairman Muzi Chirwa’s ambition for provincial power ahead of the province’s elective conference.

Allies will snatch up posts, including clinging on as ward councillors, ANC REC positions, municipal management posts and EPWP jobs.

Opponents in deputy chairman Vusi ‘Sgemegeme’ Motha’s camp met with Msukaligwa mayor Buti Mkhaliphi last week to complain about the ANC in the municipality only giving jobs to people loyal to Chirwa.

This is after ANC councillors in Msukaligwa last week held a caucus meeting and spoke about issues of recruitment for EPWP.

ALSO SEE: Muzi Chirwa’s camp releases Gert Sibande slate


The ANC caucus refused to comment this week, saying they don’t speak to the media about matters that happen inside caucus.

Opponents said the “mission” is to insert their supporters and leave all other community members on the wayside. 

One of the comrades that went to complain to Mkhaliphi Friday 18 September 2020 about the caucus discussions said they were told that ANC councillors would now be responsible for recruiting people who want to work for EPWP and it’s this issue they are aggrieved about.

The source said ANC REC member Ethel Nkosi, who is the convenor of the Msukaligwa ANC caucus, pumped the argument about the importance of giving jobs to ANC volunteers. 

The municipality will hire 95 EPWP workers, five coming from each ward.

It is here that councillors would be expected to play a key role, submitting a list of only Chirwa’s loyalists for consideration.

ALSO SEE: My availability to lead is not forced, Muzi Chirwa

Chief whip Phumzile Mashiane confirmed that the ANC municipal caucus had a meeting last week but added that as leader of caucus she doesn’t say what was discussed in caucus.

“Caucus meetings are secretive,” she said.

“There are a lot of issues that were discussed in caucus and I don’t know why you want me to talk about that particular issue and issues that are internal,” she said when she spoke to the 013NEWS reporter Sunday 20 September 2020.

#Focus camp in Gert Sibande accused of mission to only give jobs to loyal supporters
EPWP workers have become an integral part of the service delivery system in municipalities. PIC Twitter

Ethel Nkosi is Chirwa’s ally and she was recently deployed to Parliament’s council of provinces, despite not being on the list, against a candidate who was on the list but who supposedly doesn’t support Chirwa.

The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) is a government-funded programme – giving job opportunities to the unemployed and paying them a monthly stipend.

SEE ALSO: CWP work is “temporary work” – Carolina mayor

The programme is meant to alleviate poverty but politicians who are ambitious for power are very careful who they recruit as a worker there as these same volunteers oftentimes become delegates to conferences. 

Chirwa eyes the position of ANC provincial secretary on a slate that wants acting provincial chairman Mandla Ndlovu to become chair.

Their slate is opposed to Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane ascending to become the first ANC chairwoman in the province .

Sources said once the list of candidates for EPWP work had been submitted, it would then go to the office of speaker Shirley Nkosi, instead of the human resources department.

Shirley refused to comment and said her office doesn’t deal with ANC caucus meetings.

“I will only speak when there is a council resolution on the matter because the caucus meeting was in preparation for a council sitting and issues discussed in caucus are dealt with by the chief whip,” Shirley said.

The opponents also allege issues of nepotism, abuse of power and bad governance in most of the 6 local municipalities falling under the Gert Sibande district municipality, in which Chirwa is a mayor.

Municipalities like Govan Mbeki and Lekwa are a subject of investigation by the department of co-operative governance.

Money is disappearing without delivery of any real services to the people.

ALSO SEE: Mpumalanga municipalities spend R100 million hiring companies to do jobs of employed staff

The Govan Mbeki municipality currently awaits an investigative report by co-operative governance MEC Mandla Msibi but it hasn’t yet reached the council, more than three months ago it was completed and the opposing camp says this is a tactic by the Chirwa camp to “cover-up because that report pointed out to some of them being in the wrong with all these wrong things happening in that Secunda municipality,” the source said, alleging that figures like Secunda mayor Thandi Ngxonono, another Chirwa ally, are mentioned in the report.

Ngxonono was not available for comment at the time of publishing.

“In that municipality there are a lot of companies who get money,” the source said, ”and they are awarded these tenders without consideration of whether they could deliver or not,” said the source.

She said a lot of companies that could do work and deliver on time are not considered “because they won’t get the percentages they want”.

“That municipality is at a standstill as I’m talking to you,” the source said. “People are not happy and it is our own comrades who are doing all of this”.

SEE ALSO: Refilwe Tsipane places 5 municipalities under financial rescue

Msukaligwa mayor Buti Mkhaliphi told the reporter on Sunday that he received complaints from a grouping that wanted to know why ward councillors would now be responsible for the process of employing EPWP workers.

Mkhaliphi said it won’t happen like that, councillors would only “encourage the community to apply and not recruit”.

“Well, on Friday 18 September 2020 we received a complaint from protesters who charged that our process would not be fair and as I’m talking to you now we are busy trying to find time and have a meeting with those members, and see where we don’t agree,” the mayor said.

(edited by ZK)

Send tip-offs to editor@013.co.za or click here to chat via WhatsApp