Municipal manager’s resident supporters throw faeces into council chamber

Municipal manager’s resident supporters throw faeces into council chamber

Thami Kubheka with the community.

Irate residents of Siyabuswa in Mpumalanga chose a foul protest method when they scooped faeces out of their pit latrines and threw it all over the Dr JS Moroka local municipality’s council chambers.

The incident happened on Tuesday morning after residents learnt council was to sit that afternoon to adopt a motion to suspend graft-busting municipal manager Thami Kubheka.

A resident who did not want to be named for fear of being targeted said every time corrupt officials wanted to dip into municipal coffers, the target was Kubheka.

“This is the second time we have had to shut the municipality to protect Kubheka from the greedy and corrupt officials and politicians. We decided to throw the faeces in the council chambers to stop the meeting from proceeding,” she said.

Economic Freedom Fighters councillor Jack Malatjie confirmed the incident, saying a thick smell of chemicals used to clean the faeces still hung in the chambers when they arrived for the council sitting. He said the community was so angry with the council’s intention to suspend Kubheka that there had been no schooling or economic activity there since Tuesday.

“It took specialised cleaning the whole morning,” Malatjie said.

The motion to suspend Kubheka was tabled by the ANC, supported by one Pan Africanist Congress councillor and rejected by all other opposition parties – but was adopted anyway.

According to councillors, Kubheka’s cracking of the whip was not welcomed by everyone.

The municipality invested in VBS Mutual Bank, with claims that R30 million was invested – and withdrawn – before its spectacular collapse.

But there was apparently no sign of the money.

In July, the municipality was shut for almost a week following a special council sitting during which a motion to get rid of Kubheka was defeated, but speaker Rhoda Sazi Mathabe announced it had been adopted and he would be suspended.

Kubheka stopped a contract to build a fresh produce market in Maphotla village, started more than a decade ago, with more than R40 million already spent on it.

The budget in May last year allocated R3 million to the project, but the following month, during budget adjustment, another R5 million was set aside for it, despite an R8 million advanced by provincial government the previous year.

“Every time there is money in the account, I get hounded so that they can access the public funds,” Kubheka said yesterday.

He added the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs had requested a status report for intervention to restore governance.

Municipal spokesperson Masabatha Ramatsetse could not be reached for comment. – siphom@citizen.co.za

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