ANC mayor for the Greater Tzaneen municipality in Limpopo Maripe Mangena, in the news recently for purchasing a R1.2 million vehicle to use in office, has accused his fellow comrades of baying for his blood.
The purchase of the vehicle, which set tongues wagging and drew attention to Mangena, was carried out despite the municipality owing creditors more than R20 million. The outstanding debt has since led to the sheriff of the court last week attaching the new mayoral car, a Mercedez-Benz GLE 350.
But for Mangena, the purchase and attachment of the luxury German wheels, and the noise that came with it, were “blown way out of proportion with malicious intent to tarnish my beautiful image”.
Mangena made these comments on Saturday at the funeral of a 17-year-old Grade 10 pupil who was stabbed to death by a classmate at the gates of Gwambeni High School in Xihoko village, outside Tzaneen.
“On my first day as new mayor, I was introduced to my new office, office furniture, driver and mayoral car,” Mangena told The Citizen during an exclusive interview at the funeral.
“There are comrades in my chamber who have made a deal with the devil to tarnish my image and to create enemies for me,” the mayor said.
“I also know there are senior officials within the municipality bent on seeing my exit. This is dangerous and has the potential to put my life at risk.”
The car was attached following a court request by Quality Plant, through Expetera, to attach movable and immovable assets belonging to the municipality. This was after Mangena’s office had failed to pay the R110 000 owed to the creditor for services rendered.
Mangena yesterday confirmed the mayoral car had been repossessed, but said the municipality brought it back after settling its outstanding debt. The brouhaha came after vehicles worth a combined R1.6 million for Mangena and the council speaker where purchased.