He is being dragged to by the Gert Sibande district municipality.
ANC deputy chairpersonship contester David ‘Mdavu’ Nhlabathi has been dragged to the Mpumalanga High Court for allegedly mobilising comrades to disrupt a multi-million water project given to tenderpreneurs aligned to Gert Sibande ANC leader Muzi Chirwa’s allies in the province.
The R340-million tender, given to Mpfumelelo Business Enterprise PTY Ltd to build the Msukaligwa local municipality’s bulk water infrastructure, was met with alleged violence when community members demanded to know how local people would benefit from the tender.
In court papers, Gert Sibande municipal manager Absenia Habile said the project was putting a pipeline from Breyten to Chrissiesmeer, which is Mdavu’s hometown.
Habile said the project was “proceeding smoothly unhindered” until it reached Chrissiesmeer and was “adversely interfered with”, causing “unwarranted delays”.
“They further threatened to burn everything should the project not be halted. So far they have caused damages and burnt some of the equipment on-site,” Habile alleges in the court papers, served to Mdavu and 7 others last month.
The municipal manager further asked the High Court to prevent them from interrupting the project and, if they don’t, they should be arrested.
013NEWS has since learnt that the contract was given to a company with links to ANC acting provincial chairman Mandla Ndlovu.
The multi-million tender was advertised last year in November by the Gert Sibande municipality and in February 2021 was awarded to a company owned by a woman who allegedly has close links with the Mpumalanga ANC’s Mandla Ndlovu to construct water infrastructure in Lothair, Breyten and Chrissiesmeer.
Ndlovu’s Focus camp and Mdavu’s camp of Ngci are on each other’s throat ahead of the much-awaited ANC provincial elective conference, where Mdavu is contesting the position of provincial deputy chair, Nkangala municipal speaker Lucky Ndinisa – the position of provincial chair, former finance MEC Pat Ngomane (provincial secretary), former Ehlanzeni youth league leader Charles Ndlovu (deputy provincial secretary) and former eMalahleni mayor Salome Sithole as provincial treasurer.
The Focus camp of Mandla Ndlovu, which Habile is part of, wants Ndlovu as the provincial chair, Nkangala ANC leader Speedy Mashilo as provincial deputy chair, Gert Sibande ANC chair Muzi Cirwa (provincial secretary), acting secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali to return her post of deputy provincial secretary and agriculture MEC Mandla Msibi (provincial treasurer)
Two weeks ago, Habile told 013NEWS he is not interested in the “politics part” of the project as he is not a politician.
“I’m not a politician. I’m an administrator and as a municipality, we can’t be held ransom,” he said when he spoke to 013NEWS.
“That is why we are in court so that the project can continue,” Habile said.
Mdavu told 013NEWS that it’s all a “political game” being played by the Focus camp, trying to avoid answering the issue of benefiting local people in a massive project like this and in an area where economic underdevelopment is rife.
He said they had instructed a lawyer to go listen to the case in court.
One of the comrades hauled before the court along Mdavu is ward councillor contestant Mandla ‘X’ Ndzimande.
Mdavu said the court has sat down and instructed everyone not to disrupt the project and he was shocked that court papers were accusing him of being responsible. “It is known I never even once attended their meetings or went to the site to stop the project”.
“Mdavu claims that he does not know us, yet at some point, he taught us at Chrissiesmeer school where he was a teacher and finally principal. He knows our issues, at the moment he is just playing politics, a captured municipal manager in factional battles of the ANC, getting rich every day at the poor’s expense,” Hlabile told the court.
“The court only appreciated that the project which is made to benefit the community must not be disrupted. However, we were instructed to sit down and resolve our differences,” he said.
(edited by ZK)
Send tip-offs to firstname.lastname@example.org