ANC Gauteng sends VBS mayors to integrity commission

Party says it views 'this plunder in a very serious light'

ANC Gauteng sends VBS mayors to integrity commission

14 December 2018

The ANC in Gauteng has decided to refer mayors from two of its municipalities in the West Rand to its provincial integrity commission over the VBS scandal, while its council in Emfuleni will elect a new mayor on Friday.

The party made the announcements on Thursday at a media briefing, following its list conference.

The West Rand District Municipality invested R81m, while Merafong local municipality invested R50m with the now defunct mutual bank.

A report by advocate Terry Motau into the collapse of the bank, titled The Great Bank Heist, reveals how more than 50 people, including senior politicians and the bank's officials, looted millions from VBS.

"The ANC views this plunder in a very serious light," said the ANC's provincial secretary Jacob Khawe.

The latest development follows similar action in provinces such as Limpopo and the North West where most of the mayors who invested millions of municipality funds into the collapsed bank have been sacked.

Commission 'owed an explanation'

ANC provincial chairperson David Makhura said the two mayors had expressed a willingness to appear before the party's integrity commission over the scandal.

"As leadership we have been able to establish that in the West Rand, in particular, the decisions taken were administrative, unlike anywhere else where the instruction may have been political… 'invest here, invest there', they were taken administratively," explained Makhura, who told journalists the mayors would have to explain themselves to the integrity commission.

He said the ANC officials had been seeking to establish whether political leaders had a say in the decisions to invest in VBS.

"They owe an explanation to the integrity commission. The ethical and integrity line is where they are concerned," said Makhura.

"They may find there was nothing wrong [with what] you did, but say it happened under your watch," he added.

Khawe full-time at ANC Gauteng

The ANC also used the opportunity to formally announce that Khawe, who was elected as the party's provincial secretary, had stepped down from his role as Emfuleni mayor.

Khawe had been under pressure to start his full-time role at the ANC and resign from Emfuleni, but had said he would only do so once some of the projects and reports he had started were finalised.

He was appointed as mayor of Emfuleni a year ago in an attempt to stabilise the municipality which was fraught with corruption.

"By the time council sits we, the PEC (provincial executive committee), would have made a decision," said Makhura when asked about Khawe's replacement.

He denied reports that former unionist Fikile Majola was to be appointed mayor, saying he would form part of a regional task team that is being set up to take over following the disbandment or nullification of the June regional conference in Sedibeng.

Sedibeng conference invalid

The provincial office bearers also announced that their decision to nullify the Sedibeng conference was upheld by national structures.

The ANC in Gauteng took this decision following a report into the Sedibeng conference by Senzo Mchunu, who is the ANC's head of organising.

Mchunu found some branches were kept from participating in the conference, while others that should not have been allowed in had been granted permission to do so.

"With our conferences, if we find that someone was there who is not meant to be there, we take serious action," said Makhura.

He said the task team expected to take over the region would not extend its role to the municipality nor would its members seek positions when the conference eventually takes place, as most of them are stalwarts.