The African National Congress (ANC) has reportedly withdrawn its coalition agreement after Alderman Jeffrey Donson of the Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (Icosa) was re-elected mayor of Kannaland.
“We have mandated the negotiating team to process the decision of the provincial leadership to withdraw from the coalition. Yesterday the provincial co-ordinator [Ronalda Nalumango] visited Kannaland to affect this decision,” ANC provincial spokesperson Sifiso Mtsweni told TimesLIVE on Wednesday.
Mtsweni said the party’s speaker of the municipality is also being withdrawn.
The newly elected Kannaland municipal council made waves across South Africa just a few hours following its inauguration at the Townhall in Ladismith last month after the re-election of Donson.
The council, which consists of seven councillors – four ward councillors and three proportional representative (PR) councillors – held its first meeting today and elected the mayor and deputy.
The Municipal Council of Kannaland consists of Democratic Alliance [DA], African National Congress [ANC], Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa [ICOSA] and Kannaland Independent Party [KIP] representatives.
Donson was elected mayor of Kannaland, while Werner Meshoe from the same party was elected deputy mayor.
The election of Donson and Meshoe caused an uproar on social media as South Africans questioned the government’s commitment to dealing with criminal leaders.
According to the Daily Maverick, Donson was convicted of one count of indecent assault and seven counts of statutory rape in 2008, with the charges relating to a 15-year-old girl he entered into a sexual relationship with while mayor of Kannaland. While his appeal was rejected, his sentence was reduced to a suspended term of imprisonment, correctional supervision, a R20,000 fine and a rehabilitation programme for sex offenders.
According to the South African Police Service (SAPS), Meshoe, 50, was found guilty by the Ladismith Regional Court for fraud and defeating the ends of justice in January this year.
“The Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation in George revealed that Meshoe submitted a false travelling claim amounting to just over R4,000 stating that he attended a meeting in Cape Town from the 16 to 21 October 2016 whilst he never did,” said the SAPS in a statement.
“Meshoe further deceitfully tried to cover his actions by convincing a friend and some of his family members to depose false sworn affidavits confirming that his vehicle had broken down during the days he was supposed to have attended the said meeting.”
He was sentenced to a fine of R6,000 or 18 months’ imprisonment for fraud plus four years’ imprisonment both suspended for five years and 36 months correctional supervision (house arrest) for defeating the ends of justice.