EFF, DA gang up against sports MEC Thandi Shongwe

The EFF in the Mpumalanga province has written to Premier Refilwe Mtshweni to have sports MEC Thandi Shongwe recalled while the DA has written to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to investigate allegations that Shongwe received a R1.5 million “bribe” for the procurement of the Nelson Mandela statue.

In their memorandum to Mtshweni, the EFF’s Collen Sedibe says the former speaker’s conduct “compromises the principle and standards of good governance, corrupt free, open and transparent government”.

“Pursuant to the number of fraud and corruption cases laid against honourable BT Shongwe during her tenure as the speaker of the provincial legislature and the recent proven allegation of abuse of office as an MEC and misuse of the state cell phone to an amount of more than R60 000 a month, the EFF hereby request the honourable Premier [Ms] RM Mtsweni to recall Mrs BT Shongwe as the MEC for Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture with immediate effect,” Sedibe writes.

ALSO RELATED: ‘Scopa is useless – reason we went to police’ – Sedibe

The DA’s Jane Sithole says they have written to Mkhwebane to ask her to investigate allegations that Shongwe “pocketed a R1.5 million bribe during the procurement of the Mandela statue”.

ALSO SEE: Auditor-General to investigate R8.3 million Mandela statue

“During a recent sitting of the Mpumalanga provincial legislature, MEC Shongwe couldn’t admit or deny that she accepted a bribe but chose to rather try and embarrass other members of the Legislature instead of answering the question.

“MEC 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,” Sithole said in a statement.

Shongwe’s spokeswoman Sibongile Nkosi didn’t answer her phone on Tuesday morning.

Sithole in a statement said Shongwe used to “enjoy the perks of [then Premier DD] Mabuza’s protection”.

“The Public Protector must do a full investigation into MEC Shongwe so that she can pay back any money gained from corruption. We will continue to monitor this situation in our effort to build One South Africa For All,” she said.

(edited by ZK)

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DA decries Msholozi township ‘sex for jobs culture’

The Premier candidate visited the area this week to launch her party’s Listening Tour.

The DA in the Mpumalanga province is concerned of how the people of Msholozi township are “denied fair access to jobs”, it said.

Leader Jane Sithole launched the party’s Listening Tour in the Mbombela township and said what they found in that township is “saddening”.

“According to the residents of Msholozi township, it is common practice for potential employers in and around the area to ask for money or sex in exchange for jobs,” Sithole said.

She said many women described how violated they felt because they “were essentially being forced into prostitution”.

“And in most times, the promised jobs wouldn’t materialise,” Sithole said.

“It is the most vulnerable members of our society who bear the brunt of a weak economy and who are forced to live without basic services. This leaves them vulnerable to sex pests who use the promise of employment as a means to prey on their vulnerability,” the premier candidate said in a statement.

Sithole, who was elected provincial leader this year during an elective congress, was announced by her party in September 2018 as the Mpumalanga premier candidate.

She promises to change things for the better. She said will restore the dignity of the “province’s forgotten residents” through a programme of accelerated delivery of quality basic services.

She added the people in the area have found hope in the DA despite everything.

“Members of this community welcomed the DA with open arms and committed themselves to working with the DA and its vision for change that builds One South Africa For All,” she said.

(edited by ZK)

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DA has petition against “high taxes”, fuel hikes

It says it’s only 10 months since Cyril Ramaphosa took over the country yet nothing had changed.

The Democratic Alliance has a petition against tax and fuel rises and were encouraging South Africans to sign it, it said.

The party said it was concerned that South Africans were getting poorer due to the hikes and that this was the seventh increase in just 10 months.

“It is a vote of no confidence in Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC and its ability to fix our economy, make life easier for South Africans and create access to jobs for those without work,” Mpumalanga leader Jane Sithole said.

She said that:

– Unemployment is at a record high.

– The Rand is weak.

– The cost of living has gone up.

– Income Tax has gone up.

– VAT has gone up.

– Electricity has gone up.

– Food has gone up.

“The ANC cannot continue to blame these fuel price increases on international markets,” Sithole said.

“The reality is that almost a third of the cost of petrol per litre goes directly to the government,” she said.

Motorists will now pay nearly R17 for petrol and R15.65 for diesel.

Fuel prices in South Africa will be between R4 and R7 more expensive than in Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho.

The DA says they will do the following when they take over government:

– Stop reckless economic policies.

– Cut the size of the Cabinet from 35 to 15 ministries.

– Introduce an economic austerity plan to bring down government spending.

– Take action to make sure government stops the massive losses on state-owned enterprises like SAA and Eskom.

– Fund revenue shortfalls by cutting wasteful expenditure, and not adding taxes.

“The ANC cannot continue to pick the pockets of South Africans to deal with their inability to manage the economy. The people of South Africa cannot continue to fund ANC corruption. It is time for the change that creates One South Africa For All,” Sithole said.

(edited by MLM)

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New DA leader weeps when recalling how Koos Venter supported her


She was elected unopposed to take the reigns of the party from James Masango.

New DA leader Jane Sithole broke into tears when she recalled how eMalahleni councillor Koos Venter and his wife Marianne supported her throughout her political career.

Sithole was elected unopposed as the leader of Mpumalanga DA and delegates cheered rapturously when the party’s electoral team announced her and Bosman Grobler, who became the chair.

The DA has the position of leader who leads the party and that of chairperson, who presides over meetings.

“Many people have shaped my life and my career in politics,” Sithole said while on stage at the main hall of the Graceland Casino in Secunda on Saturday evening.

“I would not be standing before you today if it was not for the support and encouragement that I received from the time I was 29 years old from Koos and Marianne Venter,” she said, before starting to break into tears.

New DA leader weeps when recalling how Koos Venter supported her

“They have raised me and today they are raising my children,” she said, sobbing.

She joined the DA in 1999 and met the Venter family while they were going to gym together.

She was addressing conference as the newly elected leader and said she was proud to serve under the caucus leadership of Venter for 13 years, thankful that “someone believed in me when I did not believe in myself”.

“It is an emotional journey when I look back,” she told the conference.

New DA leader weeps when recalling how Koos Venter supported her

Jane Sithole and Koos Venter in July 2016. PIC Witbank News

Venter is the man who who led a DA march to the eMalahleni police station to lay criminal charges against Theo van Vuuren, the former eMalahleni municipal manager accused of being at the centre of the maladministration and corruption at the eMalahleni municipality.

The fraud and corruption charge Venter laid against Van Vuuren was that he facilitated payments of close to R1 million out of the municipal bank account to a private account while he served as municipal manager there.

“Let’s hold one another’s hand and work together,” Sithole said on Saturday.

New DA leader weeps when recalling how Koos Venter supported her

“Where they preach hate, we must preach love. Where they preach division, we must preach unity. Where they preach fear, we must preach hope,” Sithole said.

“Democrats we need to make sure that the message of hope is more powerful than their message of hate,” she said.

Trudie Grove-Morgan was elected Sithole’s deputy.

New DA leader weeps when recalling how Koos Venter supported her

Trudie Grove-Morgan

The conference also elected Themba Mlotshwa to serve as Grobler’s deputy.

Annerie Weber will serve as the chairwoman of DA Women’s Network, deputised by Elsie van Douwe.

Palesa Mobango got elected as the leader of Mpumalanga DA Youth, deputised by Kuzwakele Mdau and Linky Shongwe.

(edited by ZK)

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James Masango to retire, gives way to Jane Sithole

A succession plan will see new leaders taking the reigns when a provincial elective congress is held in March 2018.

Mpumalanga DA leader James Masango is retiring from active politics, a spokesperson of the party revealed.

A provincial elective congress at the Graceland Casino in Secunda in March this year will elect new leaders, with Masango voluntarily stepping aside for Jane Sithole to take the baton.

“He is old and has served many years in the party,” provincial spokeswoman Dumisile Masuku told the 013NEWS reporter on Thursday this week.

“He is retiring,” she said.

“And I think after the general elections in 2019 he won’t come back to the legislature. He wants to rest now,” Masuku said.

Nominations for leaders to serve in the Mpumalanga DA closed a week ago and show that Sithole, who is the sole nominee for the position of provincial leader, will emerge unopposed.

SEE ALSO: Jane Sithole to emerge unopposed as Mpumalanga DA leader

Masuku said the party will announce the full list of the nominated candidates but it’s believed Bosman Grobler will be the new chair.

Masango, Sithole and Grobler are the only three members of the DA in the Mpumalanga legislature.

The DA has the positions of leader and that of chairperson and the leader, as in Mmusi Maimane who is the national leader, is the face of the party, and the chairperson, like Athol Trolip, who is currently the national chair, convenes and presides over party meetings.

Sithole, who is currently Mpumalanga chair, will take over as the leader and Grobler may take this seat to become the new chair.

“We will announce the nominated candidates anytime from now,” she said this week.

(edited by MLM)

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