The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in KwaZulu-Natal has called for the urgent resignation of embattled Newcastle mayor Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba.
The Newcastle Advertiser reported that Mahlaba appeared briefly in the Madadeni Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday morning and the case was postponed to July 9.
Mahlaba is facing four charges relating to the murder of Wandile (Manqasha) Ngobeni, a former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) official, who was killed in May 2016.
The opposition party in KwaZulu-Natal called on the African National Congress (ANC) “to give a clear commitment with a timeframe of when” Mahlaba would vacate his position, saying such a commitment from the province’s governing party would be “in line with the principles of good governance”.
IFP leader in KwaZulu-Natal Velenkosini Hlabisa said in a statement on Thursday: “We call upon mayor Mahlaba to resign and stop playing hide and seek politics on matters of corruption. If this does not happen, it will be interpreted as measures aimed at diverting attention away from his real issues of crime. It is indeed a responsibility of every patriotic citizen to eradicate and expose corruption wherever it rears its ugly head.”
Hlabisa said this came after Mahlaba threatened to expose his comrades within the ANC “who have continuously embezzled municipal funds for years in that municipality”.
It was reported that following his court appearance, Mahlaba told a crowd of supporters outside court that he would this week attend a council meeting to discuss the municipality’s budget.
“We are dealing with corruption; people have run the municipality dry with illegal invoices. I know this for a fact,” he was quoted as saying.
Hlabisa said the IFP had been complaining about corruption for a very long time in the Newcastle Municipality.
“We now feel vindicated that an ANC member and mayor is confirming our claims of many years,” Hlabisa said.
He said the IFP hoped that newly appointed MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs Sipho Hlomuka would immediately investigate the allegations of corruption in the municipality.
“This will show that the newly installed ANC administration of KwaZulu-Natal is determined to walk the talk on the commitments recently made by premier [Sihle] Zikalala on fighting corruption.”
(Additional reporting, Charmaine Mazibuko)