Saturday, April 2, 2011

ANC man reluctant to pay council

ANC man reluctant to pay council....

Cannot see why he should pay if others don't

Mar 31, 2011 

 A man nominated by the ANC to stand as a ward councillor in next month's local government elections does not see why he should pay the R27000 he allegedly owes the Ekurhuleni Metro. 

"Nobody is paying their bills . so how do you expect me to pay," asked Nkosinathi Shabalala, son of Joseph Shabalala, lead singer of Grammy Award- winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. 

Nkosinathi Shabalala has been nominated to stand as a ward councillor in Katlehong, east of Johannesburg. He declined to reveal how much he owes his municipality, but did not deny the figure of R27000. 

He said he had not been paying his water and lights bill because his neighbours had also not paid for services. 

Molefi Thibedi, outgoing ward councillor in the area, showed The Times a bill that revealed that there was about R27000 outstanding on a property Shabalala bought in January 1995 for rates and services. 

Said Shabalala: "To be frank and honest, when I arrived there, [the previous owner] was owing maybe R40. Whatever costs of water and electricity that are [there] are mine. 

"I don't know which side you entered Moleleki extension 2 when you went there, but if you were to take your car right now, go back there, door to door, nobody is paying their bills. 

"So now, how do you expect me to pay? Why should I pay?" 

When asked if the refusal to pay services bills by an ANC councillor would set a bad example, Shabalala made an about-turn. 

"No, I will pay. But even if I was to pay, it would not make any difference to the Ekurhuleni municipality because people are not paying," he said. 

"My payment won't make any difference. It is just a drop in the ocean." 

He added that he was not obliged to pay his bill as he was not yet a councillor. 

"I am not a councillor, I have not signed any document that says I am a councillor," he said.
Shabalala's unpaid bill is not the only allegation he is faced with. 

Last Friday, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe was asked to intervene after a Katlehong resident claimed at a meeting that Shabalala had threatened to kill him. 

Lolo Dabata, a member of the local ANC Youth League branch, approached the Alberton Magistrate's Court for a protection order against Shabalala, whom he claims threatened his life through a mutual friend. As the alleged threats were made through a third party, the order was not granted. 

Shabalala denied making any threats. 

Dabata said he told Mantashe about the alleged threats at a public meeting on Friday, when Mantashe went to the area to listen to complaints about the lists of ward councillor nominees.
"After the meeting, Mantashe came to me and took me to Mthuthuzeli Siboza, the mayoral committee member for community safety in Ekurhuleni, and asked him to assist," Dabata said.
Siboza confirmed this. Mantashe could not be reached for comment. 

ANC spokesman Brian Sokutu said: "Our position on this is that no member of the ANC is allowed to intimidate anyone. It is against the constitution of the ANC and the country to do so."
Shabalala said Dabata lost to him in the nominations race and his claims could be sour grapes.

"It is not my fault the ANC chose me. It is for ANC to decide on a better somebody to somebody to lead the community," he said. 

Sokutu said the party was more concerned about a candidate having a criminal record than an unpaid bill. 

"What we are concerned about is [whether a candidate] has criminal record. 

"If he has made an arrangement to pay the bill, then it is not a problem. If not, he has to make an arrangement for payment," said Sokutu. 

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