By Cllr. Simon Mollo, Caucus Leader Sedibeng District Municipality:
The announcement made today by the ANC during a sitting of the Sedibeng Council that there has been a reshuffle in the Sedibeng and Emfuleni Executive is too little too late when it comes to fixing these failing municipalities.
This announcement follows the failed attempt by the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) to create a new Metro municipality by merging the bankrupt Emfuleni municipality with the financially stable DA-run Midvaal municipality. The DA took the MDB decision to merge Midvaal with the ANC-governed Emfuleni to court because we recognised that this move would lead to the deterioration of service delivery in Gauteng’s best run municipality.
Last month the North Gauteng High Court ruled in the DA’s favour and put a stop to the ANC’s political gerrymandering and attempts to take away the DA’s control of Midvaal ahead of next year’s local elections.
The DA believes today’s reshuffle is nothing but a desperate PR exercise ahead of the 2016 elections and will do nothing to address the current financial mess at the Emfuleni municipality.
This is proven by the fact that controversial Mahole Simon Mofokeng, the previous Mayor of the Sedibeng district municipality, has now been appointed the new Mayor of Emfuleni.
Mayor Mofokeng has a record of being drunk in public, having been arrested in 2013 and in 2014 for driving under the influence. At the time of his arrest in October 2014, it is alleged that the he was sneaked out of the police station in the early hours of the morning despite the serious charges against him. These cases have also mysteriously been withdrawn due to lack of evidence despite the fact that blood tests were taken at the scene and there are eyewitness accounts describing how drunk he was at the time.
While the ANC announced that the party’s ethics committee would be investigating these arrests, nothing has happened to date.
At the time of his arrests, the DA called for his resignation as Mayor of Sedibeng.
The 2014 Gauteng socioeconomic review and outlook also revealed that under his watch the Sedibeng district municipality has been ranked as having the highest percentage of people living in poverty and who are unemployed in the province.
It is palpably clear that Mofokeng is not fit to hold public office as the Mayor of Sedibeng or the Mayor of Emfuleni.
Mr Mofokeng was recently elected as the Regional Chairman of the ANC in Sedibeng for the fourth time in a row and we believe his appointment as Emfuleni Mayor is so that he can reward his supporters with lucrative positions in the municipality, which was recently upgraded to a Grade 6 council resulting in a major increase in salaries for officials and public representatives.
The DA voted against upgrading Emfuleni from a Grade 5 to a Grade 6 municipality because it cannot afford the major increase in salaries. Currently, the service delivery backlog in the municipality is in excess of R6 billion.
The current financial crisis in the Emfuleni municipality has seriously affected service delivery but instead of the ANC taking steps to turn the situation around, they have instead chosen deploy one of their cadres who is not fit to hold public office or has the experience and expertise to address this crisis.
The DA has continuously called for the Emfuleni municipality to be placed under administration by the Gauteng Provincial Government. Officials responsible for the current financial mess must also be held accountable.
We believe today’s reshuffle is too little, too late and is nothing more than a desperate attempt to score some political points ahead of the upcoming elections.
The only reshuffle that is needed in Sedibeng and Emfuleni is for residents to vote the ANC out in 2016.
The DA is committed to bringing change to Sedibeng and Emfuleni. Change that roots out corruption, fires lazy officials and starts service delivery.