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DA mayors in hot water: Here’s what you need to know

These are the DA mayors facing internal investigations related to allegations of misconduct and corruption.

Tshwane Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa. Picture: @CityTshwane/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – After a bruising 2019 that saw the Democratic Alliance (DA) perform poorly at the general elections and tensions within the party, which ultimately led to Mmusi Maimane stepping down as party leader and member, several of its mayors are facing internal investigations related to allegations of misconduct and corruption.

Tshwane Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa

Mokgalapa was placed on leave last year following a sex scandal involving the now-former MMC for Roads and Transport Sheila Senkubuge. An audio recording emerged in which Mokgalapa could be heard making disparaging remarks about his colleagues in the party.

When the audio recording emerged, Mokgalapa took special leave and the DA started an investigation into his conduct.

According to a report by the Sowetan on Monday, the party’s federal legal commission reportedly found “no conclusive proof” that the mayor and Senkubuge had sex in the office as alleged by the African National Congress in Tshwane.

But, the internal investigation apparently found that Mokgalapa could have breached the DA’s constitution for casually discussing with Senkubuge plans to fire government officials and taking a BMW X5 belonging to an official for his own use.

The paper also reported that the DA’s federal executive (Fedex) - which met for the first time this year at the weekend - the Fedex executive decided to refer the Mokgalapa matter to the federal legal commission for further investigations.

George Mayor Melvin Naik

Naik’s time as mayor of George was all but over after the DA laid criminal complaints against him over alleged corruption.

This followed a forensic investigation that implicated him in corruption. The party said that the forensic report commissioned by Western Cape Local Government MEC Anton Bredell would be tabled at the next council meeting this week.

“The forensic report has found very serious indications of corruption and also alleged criminal activity, which implicates, allegedly, the mayor of George Mr Melvin Naik,” the DA’s Geordin Hill-Lewis told EWN.

Hill-Lewis said the findings were substantiated by several admissions by individuals involved as well as compelling circumstantial evidence.

Party leaders were in the southern Cape town last week to deal with the fall-out of his impending suspension. But, it was unclear whether Naik had responded to the DA’s move to suspend him.

Oudtshoorn Mayor Colan Sylvester

Earlier this month, Sylvester's future as Oudtshoorn mayor was uncertain. He faces 11 internal charges after he and municipal manager Allen Paulse’s relationship turned sour. He claimed the charges against him related mostly to “fabricated allegations” he was alleged to have made against Paulse.

Sylvester had been the DA’s mayor in Oudtshoorn since the 2016 municipal elections and was the party’s poster boy during the elections.

The Oudtshoorn mayor had been dodging the disciplinary case for several months now as he demanded a clear charge sheet from the party. His case was initially set to be heard in November last year, but there were numerous delays.

The DA was also aware of five or more members of the Oudtshoorn party caucus who were ready to resign should Sylvester be axed. Should the councillors resign, the municipality’s political leadership would collapse, which could negatively impact service delivery.

However, the DA’s provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela previously said the party was proceeding with the matter and was prepared to deal with any fallout, EWN reported.

DA VS MAILE

Last week, Gauteng Cooperative Governance MEC Lebogang Maile announced his decision to suspend Tshwane Speaker Katlego Mathebe and former Joburg Speaker Vasco da Gama.

Da Gama was suspended for three months without pay over his decision to postpone the vote for a new Joburg mayor and Mathebe for six months following her failure to preside over a council meeting.

The DA had since submitted an urgent application asking the High Court to set aside the suspensions. The DA described Maile’s decision as prejudice not only to the party but also to the residents of both Tshwane and Joburg.

OTHER NOTABLE FALLOUTS IN 2019

In October, last year, Herman Mashaba resigned as Joburg mayor and DA member after the outcome of the federal council that elected former party leader Hellen Zille as its chairperson. Mashaba said that he could not reconcile himself with a party that was against his pro-poor policies.

The DA’s former CEO Paul Boughey resigned before the party's federal council.

Since Mashaba’s resignation from the DA, he founded the People's Dialogue in November, said he would launch his political party by June this year in order to contest next year's local government elections.

Two days after Mashaba’s resignation, Maimane announced his resignation as party leader, citing that he believed the DA was not the best vehicle to take South Africa forward. He was swiftly followed by the party’s federal chairperson Athol Trollip who also stepped down.

Maimane earlier this month announced he would focus on establishing a movement for one SA to “seek to build a broad coalition of political parties and civil society formations around a shared set of values and principles that could collectively work to fix SA and realise our country's potential”.

Additional reporting by Jason Felix and Clement Manyathela

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