The embattled ward councillor in the area is not going down without a fight…
She says the letter of resignation that resulted in the IEC declaring her post vacant is a fake one and the signature in it is not hers.
The letter, which 013NEWS saw on Sunday morning and dated 31 August 2016, says: “This serves as my resignation letter as ward councillor of Victor Khanye local municipality with immediate effect. I also wish to thank the ANC for giving me the chance and deploying me as ward councillor for Victor Khanye local municipality ward 6.”
Maria Sepenyane says this particular letter was forged and “even a small child can see the signature is not real”.
The alleged fake signature in the resignation letter.
Maria Sepenyane’s confirmed real signature
“To be honest with you,” Sepenyane told the 013NEWS reporter on Sunday morning, “I was second on the list and Mishack Mthombeni was first.
“But the issue of gender was considered when the names were being submitted. The issue of continuity, geographical representation and of the alliance as you know I’m an SACP member.
“The process went ahead smoothly and I won the ward but soon afterwards the ANC came and asked me to quit, saying I was not popular simply because they wanted to put their own and remove communists from government,” she said.
She said somewhere in July 2016 she signed a letter withdrawing her candidacy – after community members complained about the manipulated selection process that led to her being a ward councillor candidate – but a meeting between regional leaders of the SACP and ANC decided she should continue for “gender consideration and for the sake of the alliance partners”.
In an affidavit dated 2 September 2016 and made with the Delmas cops, Sepenyane denies ‘vehemently’ ever signing a resignation letter, saying resigning now would mean “a betrayal to the electorates”.
“I have just been elected in the ward on 3 August 2016 and I don’t have any intention to resign,” she said in the affidavit.
“The letter attached and the signature that were received by the municipal manager of Victor Khanye, Mr M. Mahlangu, and also sent to the IEC election manager Mr. M. Mbamba in Delmas are fraudulent documents.
“I’m requesting the police to investigate and arrest all the perpetrators of this group of fraudsters,” she said.
“If I resign, the first person to know and witness the content of my resignation is my husband, Diikgetse Ramaseka Sepenyane, I will do so in the presence of the chief whip of the ANC in Victor Khanye local municipality,” she said.
Delmas police confirmed on Sunday afternoon they were investigating a case of fraud concerning Sepenyane’s resignation letter.
Nkangala ANC regional spokesman Sello Matshokga confirmed the ANC in the region and province was aware a case of fraud has been opened, after Sepenyane disputed both the letter and the signature in it.
“Yes we are aware,” he said late on Sunday, asking the reporter to call on Monday morning for a detailed comment.
The secretary of the ANC in the region is the cause of the by-elections in the area.
A manipulation of the process led to the wrong person being selected, leading to the ANC starting afresh.
And Nkangala regional secretary Leah Khoza has been fingered in the squabble that led to the selection of Maria Sepenyane as ward councillor candidate in the Delmas area of Delpark and Malita’s ward 6 in Mpumalanga.
Mishack Mthombeni – the man who was chosen by the community members to be ward 6 councillor candidate – revealed this when he was speaking to 013NEWS on Sunday morning.
During an ANC branch general meeting earlier this year, the names of Mthombeni, Sepenyane and that of then outgoing ward councillor Thandi Shabangu were picked by party members.
Mthombeni said this branch meeting, “well attended” was “fair and square” in its selection process as well as a community meeting a day later but then the regional secretary manipulated the list in favour of Sepenyane.
“What happened was that the following day in the community meeting, comrade Thandi got 4 votes and comrade Maria got around 10 or something I can’t remember but it was low and on me it was obvious because the whole hall raised their hands to say they want me.
“Now everything went smooth and the comrades, regional and provincial delegates accepted that I was nominated.
“Then somewhere I don’t know what happened.
“Comrade Leah Khoza was doing the IEC registration and afterwards I learnt my name was no longer there and we questioned and she began not to answer our calls,” said Mthombeni.
Addressing the 1st provincial executive committee lekgotla – post elections – on 3 September provincial chairman, DD Mabuza hit hard on “regional leaders who had imposed candidates on the community” and “branches which had manipulated processes.”
When contacted for comment Khoza told 013NEWS that she was in hospital and could not talk, referring queries to regional spokesman Sello Matshokga who said “indeed a mistake occurred” during the submission of names.
“That’s why we have decided to start afresh with the process and that’s why now we have the by-elections,” said Matshokga.
A month ago the sub-regional body of the Independent Electoral Commission in the Victor Khanye municipality declared Spengane’s post vacant and announced the date of 9 November 2016 as the date of the by-elections.
Both Skhosana and provincial chairwoman Jane Sithole are busy in the area, doing door-to-door campaigns, preparing for 9 November and Sithole herself told 013NEWS on Thursday afternoon that they have heard many issues from community members, including youth unemployment, crime and poor service delivery.
“We are actually on the ground speaking to people, on a door-to-door campaign and really I must say it’s amazing that the sewage is flowing on the street like that. The issue of water has been raised to us by community members, mainly on our campaign we focus on service delivery.
“We ask the community members to vote for Skhosana and that even if he doesn’t win but they will have a representative in the council,” she said.
She said for many months the community members have been complaining about the spew of poo in Malita and “we are definitely going to focus on the sewage.”
“It’s been flowing for months, people reported it but nothing was done,” Sithole, who is also the shadow health MEC in the province, said.