eMalahleni businessman Themba ‘Masofa’ Sgudla has roped in a local traditional leader to register a political party ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The party will focus on giving back power to chiefs and kings, Sgudla said over the phone Thursday morning and is called Sancota or ‘South African National Congress of Traditional Authorities’.
“We believe that Sancota will endorse the will of the people because chiefs will never change and will never run away from where they are,” Sgudla said.
Chief Bhekumuzi Mantjolo Mnisi of Enkonjaneni Royal Kraal near Badplaas will lead Sancota as President and Sgudla will remain President of his organisation the Practical Radical Economic Transformation (PRET) which will become Sancota’s “alliance partner”.
In that way, Sgudla will serve in Sancota’s executive as a leader of an alliance structure.
He told 013NEWS that Sancota will be officially launched in few weeks time here in Mpumalanga.
He said Sancota is about getting “traditional leaders to get their rightful positions and run government”.
“We want Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga,” Sgudla said.
Other chiefs across these provinces will serve in Sancota’s executive committee.
“Remember that Mpumalanga is a rural province and most of us here we fall under traditional authorities. So we are in.
“And these have always been the authorities of the people for many, many years before we even thought about democracy. Now we say power to traditional authority,” said Sgudla.
This is the second time Sgudla hints on the idea of contesting elections.
Early last year, just few months after the election of his friend DD Mabuza as the deputy president of the ANC, Sgudla publicly declared he was now leaving the ANC and was going to contest the 2019 general elections through his non-profit organisation PRET because Mabuza had “abandoned Unity”.
They are fighting for the right to own the public homes, rather than being tenants “forever”.
George Xaba and his Emalahleni Housing Company have now been reported to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Also Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has been asked to look into the matter.
The scores of Dingindoda residents this week drove all the way to Union Building in order submit a memorandum of demand to Ramaphosa’s office.
They tell the head of state that they are “poor, working class people” and are living in units that were “hijacked” by Xaba’s Emalahleni Housing Company soon after its construction in the early 2000s.
The 1, 300 Tasbet Park units, known as uThingo Park and nicknamed Dingindoda, are a subject of court contention between businessman Themba Sgudla and Xaba.
Sgudla wants the residents to no longer pay rent – instead he wants them to pay money into his account towards a rent-to-buy arrangement and the residents agree.
But Xaba and the Mpumalanga provincial government are saying that cannot happen – the homes were built with public money and were meant to accommodate immigrant workers on a low rental cost arrangement like hostels.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office is yet to confirm receiving the memorandum from the residents
Xaba and the residents are on each other’s throats and letters of evictions have been sent to the residents after some ceased paying rent in September 2018 – told by Sgudla to do so.
In the memorandum, the residents demand that the President intervenes and stops Xaba from “illegally evicting” them.
They also want the President to make the rent-to-buy arrangement possible after the Mpumalanga authorities opposed it, saying they have been staying in the public homes for 16 years and now find themselves “renting forever”.
“This project was also meant to assist the poor working class of eMalahleni to have an option to rent to buy for a period of 15 years and not to rent forever,” the memorandum, signed by residents’ representatives Nelville Maseko, Candy Ganyane and Phumzile Sibiya.
Businessman Themba Sgudla – whose company Anchorprops21 Pty Ltd built the social housing units – wants the residents to own them by entering into a rent-to-buy agreement with him and to dump George Xaba’s Emalahleni Housing Company
Xaba has secured court orders to get the residents who refuse to pay rent evicted from the area but the residents want Ramaphosa to intervene, saying the reason they do not pay rent is because they want Xaba to come answer “questions concerning the maintenance and allegation of corruption”.
They also want Ramaphosa to help get the homes transferred into the hands of the eMalahleni municipality and no longer in Xaba’s hands saying it was “unconstitutional for [his] Emalahleni Housing Company to continue collecting rent from the residents while there is still a land dispute in the court of law”.
They say the homes are in the hands of an “individual for a purpose of self-enrichment”.
“[He is] trying very hard to secure the land of government in order to privatise subsidised government apartments for a purpose of looting from the working class and the poor people of eMalahleni. We have requested the Public Protector to investigate the allegations of transferring the land of government illegally,” the memorandum reads in part.
Ramaphosa’s spokeswoman Khusela Diko didn’t answer SMSed questions this week.
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 men are in a brawl as a consequence of the Dingindoda rental housing area.
Emalahleni Housing Company boss George Xaba has secured a court order for the arrest of businessman Themba Sgudla and his ally Bhuti Mamba for continuing to defame him.
Both Sgudla and Mamba will return to the Tshwane high court sitting in Middelburg on 21 February 2019 to argue before Judge Segopotje Mphahlele why the order should not be made final.
It was secured by Xaba this week after both Sgudla and Mamba violated a 23 October 2018 court order prohibiting them from defaming Xaba and interfering with the lease agreement that the people of Dingindoda have with Xaba.
The high court judgement comes after Sgudla and Mamba convened a community meeting with the Dingindoda tenants on 7 November 2018 and labelled the 23 October court order “irrelevant”, saying they were now proceeding to give the tenants title deeds to own the public homes.
The Dingindoda issue is a subject of court contention between Xaba and Sgudla.
Sgudla says the area belongs to him through a piece of paper called ‘Land Availability Agreement’ he had with the eMalahleni municipality and this paper allows him to sell the public homes “to members of the public” and then pay some of the money to the municipality for the land on which the homes were built.
Formally known as uThingo Park, the Dingindoda rental area in eMalahleni.
But Xaba says the homes were built with government money and the Land Availability Agreement is invalid in that it purports to entitle Sgudla “to profit from the sale of social housing units built with public funds”.
Xaba also says in court papers that the price for which the municipal land is sold is far below the value of the land and in its aspect is a breach of the law governing social housing in South Africa.
Sgudla’s Anchorprops21 Pty Ltd, Demacode, the eMalahleni municipality, human settlement MEC Norah Mahlangu and the Social Housing Regulatory Authority are respondents in the matter being brought by Xaba against the Land Availability Agreement and to be heard on 13 May and 26 August 2019.
On 23 October 2018, both Sgudla and Mamba agreed in court that they would no longer tell the residents that Xaba was “stealing” the Dingindoda money.
But on 7 November 2018 the two returned to Dingindoda for a community meeting and violated the court order.
They told the residents that the relationship between Xaba and the tenants had now been “terminated” by Sgudla’s Anchorprops and were now proceeding with giving the public homes to the tenants for ownership.
The homes were going to be bought on a “instalment sale agreement”, they told the ululating tenants who the following day threw in a big party celebrating the announcement by Sgudla to give them the homes to own.
Again, on 10 November 2018, the two pulled down the uThingo Park signage outside the Dingindoda gate and replaced it with one written ‘Cyril Ramaphosa Family Village’ in a gathering attended by a score of Dingindoda residents who were singing struggle songs.
But a day later Xaba took it down. Days later the residents put the signage up again.
In her judgement, Mphahlele said it was “highly unlikely” that both Sgudla and Mamba didn’t know what they were doing on the 7 November meeting and that their failure to comply with the 23 October court order was “willful”.
“It is declared that the respondents are in contempt of the court order dated 23 October 2018,” the Judge said Tuesday this week.
“The respondents are hereby committed to undergo imprisonment for a period of 30 days. The period of imprisonment imposed on the respondents is suspended for a period of 1 year on condition that the respondents are not found to be in the contempt of the court order of 23 October 2018 within the period of the operation of the suspension,” Mphahlele said.
She had given the two the date of 21 February 2019 to come argue why this should not be made final.
Xaba rushed to court in a bid to stop the two PRET leaders from “causing harm” to his reputation.
The Tshwane high court sitting in Middelburg has postponed the defamation case against Themba Sgudla and Bhuti Mamba.
Sgudla, who is President of the Practical Radical Economic Transformation non-profit group of Mpumalanga, and Mamba who is the group’s eMalahleni sub-regional leader, are being hauled into court by eMalahleni Housing Company boss George Xaba for statements that the two made on the Thursday afternoon of 27 September 2018.
Both Sgudla and Mamba addressed a community meeting at the Dingindoda settlement in Tasbet Park and ripped into Xaba for collecting R3.7 million from the public homes to “enrich himself”.
Xaba had brought an urgent court application to stop Sgudla and Mamba from saying that “I’m corrupt and enrich myself at the expense of the tenants”.
“They have made defamatory allegations of the serious nature,” Xaba said in court papers.
ALSO RELATED: George Xaba pays himself R1.3 million salary from Dingindoda rents
Xaba’s lawyer Andrew Brandmuller Tuesday this week said the matter will now go into the normal court roll after he had had an agreement with Sgudla and Mamba’s lawyer Matthew Kerr Phillips.
He told Judge Segopotje Mphahlele that the date of 4 March 2019 would be suitable for all of them as lawyers to come argue.
Xaba also wants the court to interdict Sgudla and Mamba from “interfering with the contractual relationship” between himself and the Dingindoda residents after the two told the residents to no longer pay rent – and were preparing the homes to be made rent-to-buy homes so that the vulnerable tenants “do not rent forever”.
Dingindoda residents in Tasbet Park, eMalahleni listening while Themba Sgudla and Bhuti Mamba addresses them on 27 September 2018
“I know that most of you here no longer work for yourself but for your children,” Sgudla said, “and what will then happen to you if you lose your job or die and not able to pay rent? They will be kicked out,” he told the residents of their kids, saying the only option for them is to go through the process of rent-to-buy than being forced “to rent forever” by those who want to “enrich” themselves from their hard earned money.
In another court case, Xaba wants the court to review the Land Availability Agreement that makes Sgudla’s Anchorprops Pty Ltd in charge as a developer over the Dingindoda assets and surrounding land.
He argues that the Land Availability Agreement that Anchorprops and the eMalahleni municipality concluded on 20 March 2003 is “unlawful and invalid”.
George Xaba. 013NEWS/ZK.
The municipality actually owns the land and gave it to Anchorprops to develop the homes through the Land Availability Agreement document.
Xaba argues in court papers how the municipality and Anchorprops “purported to settle the 2009 application inter alia on the basis that the Land Availability Agreement was valid and enforceable and that the municipality would cooperate with the developer in giving effect thereto”.
Sgudla’s Anchorprops, Demacode, the eMalahleni municipality, human settlement MEC Norah Mahlangu and the Social Housing Regulatory Authority are respondents in the matter being brought by Xaba.
The Land Availability Agreement gives Anchorprops as a developer of the 1 300 units the powers to sell the Dingindoda homes “to members of the public” and also requires that the developer uses the money to pay the municipality money for land on which the homes were built.
But Xaba, who himself collects rent and does not give it to the municipality, argues that this is against the law because it wants Anchorprops to benefit from municipal assets and says it was built with public funds.
“On or about 10 December 2009, the developer instituted an application with a view to enforcing the terms of the Land Availability Agreement. This application was brought in the Gauteng Division of the High Court,” Xaba says in the court papers.
“When the municipality, eMalahleni Housing Company and the Mpumalanga housing department opposed the application and made counter application for orders declaring the Land Availability Agreement unlawful and invalid, the developer decided not to proceed with the application,” he said.
“On 30 June 2016, and unbeknown to the eMalahleni Housing Company, seven years after the municipality had opposed any attempt by the developer to enforce the Land Availability Agreement, the municipality decided to conclude a settlement agreement with the developer,” Xaba said in the papers.
“In terms of the settlement agreement the municipality purported to settle the 2009 application inter alia on the basis that the Land Availability Agreement was valid and enforceable and that the municipality would cooperate with the developer in giving effect thereto,” the court papers read.
The review applications will be heard on 13 May and 26 August 2019.