The police had to use rubber bullets as PRET members began blocking an EFF march in the area.
The Practical Radical Economic Transformation group of Mpumalanga may also be engaged in a fight for economic freedom for the majority of black South Africans but they are not friends with the Economic Freedom Fighters.
Thursday this week the group stood in the way of EFF members who were marching to the eMalahleni municipality to submit a memorandum of demands to mayor Linah Malatjie.
Led by provincial leader Collen Sedibe, the EFF headed to the municipality in order to complain about lack of service delivery, alleged corruption and nepotism when they met PRET members who were singing struggle songs on the street of the municipality and waiting for them.
“They will not pass here and go to the municipality. Let them go back,” one PRET member was heard shouting as the EFF approached and both groups began to mix in a confrontational way.
Cops had to intervene and form a human shield between both groups but when they could not be able to control the violent PRET group they began using rubber bullets, firing hard at PRET members.
Some PRET members during the stand-off with police.
The EFF had applied from authorities in order to stage the march to the eMalahleni municipality and the PRET gathering in front of the municipality building was illegal, one cop told the 013NEWS reporter.
PRET members began throwing stones back at cops, forcing CBD shops to close down as cops chased them with rubber bullets.
A vehicle from Weng Family Supermarket was torched by PRET members.
It is still not clear why the PRET members were disrupting the EFF march but one PRET member said the EFF were “coming late in order to take things from us”.
“There are a lot of issues we have been fighting for in this area and where was the EFF?” he said, “we are closer to achieve on those issues and the EFF is coming to hijack the issues,” he claimed.
Clad in their trademark yellow t-shirts bearing the face of president Cyril Ramaphosa, members of the group said they were there to “defend the municipality”.
Prior to their march, the EFF went to Dingindoda on Wednesday evening and told the tenants that they would help them in the fight between eMalahleni Housing Company boss George Xaba and businessman Themba ‘Masofa’ Sgudla who is also the leader of PRET.
The tender irregularities are captured in an Auditor-General’s reports and involves R30 million.
R19.6 million of this R30 million was awarded to a company called ‘Frugacode CC’ to provide security and data integrity and the Auditor-General found that this company was not really supposed to get the tender because it used a SAP accreditation that was not registered under its name.
The other money – R9.9 million – was given to a company called ‘Junox 210 CC’ despite being disqualified during the bidding process for not having a tax clearance certificate.
The EFF also accuse Shongwe of –
– Misusing taxpayers’ money in the R8.3 million procurement of the flawed Nelson Mandela statue
– Spending taxpayers’ money for hotel rooms, T-shirts and petrol while attending Prophet Bushiri’s church in Gauteng
– Having fraud and corruption charges opened but still continuing to hold office
“The conduct of Mrs BT Shongwe as a public representative is not honourable and compromises the principle and standards of good governance, corrupt-free, open and transparent government that is accountable to the people,” Sedibe said in the letter to Mtshweni.
Mtshweni’s office replied and said that they were looking at the matter.
“The honourable Premier is applying her mind to the matter,” they said in an e-mail reply to Sedibe.
She said the ANC doesn’t engage in ” impulsive behaviour” like opposition politicians who fire their own based on emotions.
Premier Refilwe Mtshweni has defended one of the much-bashed MECs in her cabinet, saying all that opposition parties are raising are “baseless allegations”.
She was answering oral questions at the Mpumalanga legislature Thursday this week.
The EFF’s Collen Sedibe had asked the Premier why did she reshuffle the “incompetent” MEC Gillion Mashego from health to public works on 3 July 2018.
“Is the department that he is ‘recycled’ into not important in your eyes and amongst the other departments?” Sedibe asked.
Mtshweni answered that their deployees are deployed based on “their expertise and collection of skills”.
“The Honourable MEC Gillion Mashego is a capable and competent politician who has previously proved himself in the various positions that he has been deployed and I am confident that he will continue to do a sterling job in the position that he is in,” said Mtshweni.
She said Mashego has a vast experience in governance and administration as well as knowledge.
“For your information, he was in the Public Works administration at provincial and at district level before full participation in politics.
“Therefore this territory from an implementing perspective is not new to him. That said however, as an MEC, his role requires him to oversee the implementation of policy, provide strategic direction and guidance to his department and hold the head of department accountable on implementation,” Mtshweni said.
Mashego weathered several storms while he was health MEC.
The DA’s Jane Sithole, who is a shadow health MEC in the province, wrote a number of letters to then Premier DD Mabuza asking him to fire Mashego.
In September 2016, members of the Democratic Alliance, led by Sithole, marched to the Mpumalanga provincial legislature and handed over a memorandum calling for the immediate resignation of Mashego, accusing him of “bringing basic healthcare to its knees”.
Mtshweni told Sedibe that opposition parties were “impulsive” in their behaviour and tended to fire their own deployees based on “emotions” and “baseless accusations”.
“Contrary to other political parties’ impulsive behaviour of firing and sacking of their deployees based on emotions, difference of opinions, rumours and baseless allegations, such behaviour is not the culture of the ANC. We relieve people of their responsibilities only where there is sufficient evidence of wrongdoing or unlawful activity, or if a member is in a serious breach of their mandate and/or they have committed a serious crime,” she said.
The provincial government is accused of using the late struggle icon’s name to do “dubious financial dealings”.
The Democratic Alliance in the Mpumalanga province is rushing to the office of the Auditor to ask him to investigate how R 8.3 million was used in the procurement of a bronze statue of former President Nelson Mandela.
The statue was erected outside the Riverside government complex.
Premier Refilwe Mtshweni and arts and culture MEC Thandi Shongwe unveiled the 6 meter high statue of Mandela.
“One of the rejected bids would have costed a total of R 2.7 million but the provincial department of culture sports and recreation ultimately chose a company that charged over three times that amount,” DA leader Jane Sithole said in a statement.
“Culture, sports and recreation MEC, Thandi Shongwe, is no stranger to controversy related to hyper-inflated tenders as she has been linked to multiple inflated tenders during her time as speaker of the provincial legislature,” said Sithole.
She said the reason they have now asked the Auditor-General to investigate the tender matter which caused an outcry in the province was the “ANC’s tendency to use Nelson Mandela’s name and memory as a disguise for dubious financial dealings such as the R 70 million given to Carol Bouwer’s Company for Nelson Mandela’s memorial services along with R 5 million for a Nelson Mandela video commissioned by the Office of the Premier that has never seen the light of day”.
“The people of Mpumalanga continue to be burdened with rising unemployment, inadequate healthcare facilities and poor service delivery that have ensured that thousands of people remain in the clutches of poverty. All of this, while the provincial government chooses to protect corruption and divert public money to projects that will not benefit the people of this province,” she said, adding that they were writing to the AG to ensure public money was not abused.
EFF leader Collen Sedibe said he estimated the statue cost close to R 20 million and wondered how much Shongwe “pocketed”.
“If the statue itself is R 8.3 million and with the ceremony where they hired tents, catering and bought ANC T-shirts, we are talking of R 20 million,” Sedibe said.
“We can’t have Mandela statues everywhere when our people are deep in poverty,” he said.
Mtshweni said the unveiling of the statue was important as it will show the future generation the role Madiba played in liberating South Africa.
“This is a way to thank and show how Mandela played a part in our liberation as a country,” she said.
Meanwhile, Facebook users said the statue didn’t look like Mandela.
It will elect another leadership since its birth in July 2013.
The EFF in the Mpumalanga province has announced the date of 31 August to 1 September 2018 as the date of an elective conference.
Called a Provincial People’s Assembly, the party of South Africa’s enfant terrible Julius Malema will hold its Mpumalanga elective conference at the Ingwenyama Lodge, Mbombela the coming weekend.
800 delegates are expected to fill the main hall at the Mpumalanga affluent resort on the Friday afternoon of 31 August and the Saturday of 1 September, electing the top 5 officials and the 16 additional members.
Provincial leader Collen Sedibe, whose term comes to an end the coming weekend, is expected to emerge once more as the Mpumalanga leader of Mzansi’s third largest party alongside Gcina Mofokeng who is favoured by a larger number of supporters to come become the provincial secretary.
Gcina Mofokeng (Second from left).
Sedibe will go face-to-face with Isaiah Khoza, the former Mbombela mayor who left the ANC in September 2015 and who was the city’s mayor between the years 1995 and 2004.
013NEWS understands Khoza is leading a faction that is opposed to Sedibe returning to power once more and Gert Sibande’s charismatic politician Pkay Nkosi is said to be gunning for the position of secretary – in Khoza’s slate.
Sedibe, who is Malema’s favoured candidate in the race, has a slate that wants Sam Zandamela as the deputy provincial chairman, Mofokeng as secretary and Ntsako Mkhabela as deputy secretary.
Sources say the position of deputy secretary is a Bohlabela region position – with Velephi Malatji also tipped for it.
There is also another faction wants Solly Kekana as the chair, “once and for all”.
“They feel his political skills cannot be left like that and can move the EFF forward in the province,” a source said.
Japhta Mashilo, current deputy chairman, is also needed by the Khoza faction to return his post but Masemola will have to go face-to-face with Zandamela, the current legislature member who replaced secretary Alfred Skhosana when he he got expelled “from the membership of the party” in May 2018.
Collen Sedibe and Cyril Chuene.
“Cyril Chuene also wants to be the secretary. He currently doesn’t have a slate but you will always never know, maybe he will align in the 11th hour because Cyril is Cyril you know,” a senior fighter told the 013NEWS reporter over the phone.
“But I see Gcina emerging with the whole thing happening in that region. Kenneth Mazibuko also wants to be the secretary but you see he needs the numbers. He has instead approached the Sedibe faction to have him as the additional member in the provincial command team,” the source said.
Sedibe said they welcome contests at the conference as this is a democratic movement giving everybody the chance to lead.
“Any member of the EFF in good standing has the right to stand for any position if nominated,” the spokesman said when he answered WhatsApp’d questions