'ANC condones corruption'

Gwede Mantashe defended the ANC's decision to expel members who voted for the DA in Tlokwe.

Bantu Holomisa, leader of the United Democratic Movement. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa told a workshop in Limpopo the behaviour of the ANC in dealing with the Tlokwe Municipality in the North West is a sign that the ruling party condones corruption.

Holomisa says the councillors had publicly stated that they had voted against the mayor "because the ANC mayor is corrupt, but, instead of working with its councillors in fighting corruption, the ruling party chose to expel them with immediate effect."

Holomisa said the ANC's behaviour on the matter raised questions whether the nation could trust the ruling party in the fight against corruption.

To defend its position, ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe told Talk Radio 702's John Webb that expelling their members was the best option because it's better to have loyal members than no members.

"Organisations depend on members and if you can't trust members it's better not to have them."

Furthermore, ANC claimed that 16 of its councillors participated in an irregular council meeting where they voted for Maphetle Maphetle's unseating.

The 16 ANC members were scheduled to face a disciplinary hearing on last week, but only two of them attended the meeting.

The other 14, who did not arrive for the meeting, were expelled.

In November, ANC factions in the municipality passed a motion of no confidence in him.

He was replaced by Annette Combrink, the first DA mayor in the province, when she defeated ANC candidate Lucky Tsagae by 20 votes to 19.

However, Maphetle was returned as mayor in February, when he won by 31 votes to Combrink's 21.

In the latest attempt to oust him, DA North West leader Chris Hattingh said 29 councillors from all parties, including the ANC, had unanimously voted to return Combrink to the position of mayor.

While the DA was in charge, it asked for a forensic investigation into irregularities at the municipality.

The probe found the council had irregularly bought Maphetle a R736,000 customised Mercedes-Benz.

Maphetle was also found to have allegedly abused the municipality's disaster management fund and poverty relief fund.

Mantashe said, "Maphetle will be investigated and if he's found guilty he'll face organisational discipline but we can't fire people every time there are corruption alllegations."

Meanwhile, in June, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said she would investigate the claims of corruption involving Maphetle.