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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

ANC at loggerheads over appointment of VBS accused

The party's PEC top five officials went to address the caucus on Tuesday to tell them that Mzwandile Mkhize must be removed.

The ANC caucus at Moses Kotane municipality in North West is defying their party’s instruction to reverse the appointment of a chief financial officer who is facing allegations of fraud.

The ANC provincial executive committee’s (PEC) top five officials went to address the caucus on Tuesday to tell them that Mzwandile Mkhize must be removed because he is accused of fraud and corruption.

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He was charged on allegations emanating from the VBS Mutual Bank saga.

But, according to a source, “the councillors told them they would rather resign than reverse their decision”.

Mkhize, who was then income and expenditure manager at West Rand municipality in Gauteng, along with former municipal manager David Mokoena and former chief financial officer Romeo Mohaudi, allegedly authorised an investment of R347 million of municipal funds into the VBS Bank in contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

But Mkhize was subsequently appointed by Moses Kotane municipality last year, despite the charges. He was recommended for appointment by Moses Kotane municipal manager Mokopane Letsoalo, a recommendation endorsed by the council.

But the appointment was challenged by a local ward councillor Matsapa Mabula. In November, Mabula’s lawyers asked Letsoalo to withdraw his recommendation for Mkhize’s appointment to council, which was sitting on the same day.

But Letsoalo refused, saying Mabula’s accusations were “baseless” and he acted properly to recommend Mkhize, who was endorsed by council. ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula ordered the PEC to reverse Mkhize’s appointment as it was against the party’s anticorruption policy.

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The policy stated that all officials implicated in fraud and corruption, including the VBS scandal, should not be hired. The PEC is caught in dilemma as they were unable to convince the caucus to reverse the appointment, but Luthuli House was putting pressure on them to dismiss Mkhize.

“Our organisation in the North West is being held to ransom by a group of friends whose personal interests overshadow the people’s interest,” a concerned ANC member, who asked to remain anonymous, said in a statement circulated on social media.

“They will never implement these decisions because those who currently occupy these positions are their conduits to enabling the embezzlement of government funds.

“The PEC, which continues to resist change within the constitutional framework, are clearly opponents in a democratic order,” added the member.

Attempts to get comment from ANC provincial spokesperson Tumelo Maruping were unsuccessful by the time of going to press.

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