Mayor in hot water after municipality car used for election campaign

Driver to face disciplinary hearing

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Photo of car with people campaigning for the ANC
The state-owned car used the mayor of Matatiele was allegedly used for electioneering. Photo supplied

The mayor of Matatiele Municipality, Momelezi Mbedla, is facing criticism because his municipality-owned car allegedly has been used for election campaigning. And his driver, Khangelani Sibhuku, is to be brought before a disciplinary hearing by the municipality.

Sibhuku was seen in the Matatiele CBD driving the mayor’s Isuzu. He was allegedly using the car to campaign for the ANC.

Matatiele is a town in the north of the Eastern Cape.

The Matatiele Local Municipal Manager Tshepang Nakin told GroundUp that the matter is under investigation. “We totally condemn what the driver has done: taking the municipality vehicle for campaigning. Once we are done with the investigation the driver will face a disciplinary hearing,” he said.

DA councillor, Wonga Potwana, said, “I was there. I saw them. The Isuzu that the mayor usually drives when he visits rural areas and another Isuzu which is usually used for electrification and to transport municipal workers … were both used for the campaign on Monday,” said Potwana.

He said that he already took the matter to Nakin and is waiting for him to respond.

“What we want to know is who gave the authority to both drivers including the mayor’s driver to use the municipal vehicle to campaign for the ANC, especially because the mayor was not there. What they did is not right they cannot use municipality vehicles for their campaigns. Hence we are planning to take this matter to the police,” he said.

However, Nakin said the second vehicle no longer belongs to the municipality. He said it was sold two weeks ago on auction.

UDM councillor Lebo Stuurman said his party is also planning to open a criminal charge against the ANC. Stuurman said he was informed about the incident by a person who claims to have photographic evidence. “As soon we get the pictures we will take this matter further,” he said.

GroundUp has not yet received a response from Sibhuku. But Mbedla told us he is still mayor and cannot be made to account for what vehicle he uses and for what occasion. When asked if he was part of the campaigning that was done on Monday, Mbedla responded, “If I was not there why should I respond for what my driver has done? The person you should speak to is the municipality manager,” he said.

He added that he does not see why this is being made into a “big deal”.

TOPICS:  Corruption Government Local Elections 2016

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