North West party officials, who have been told to kick former Rustenburg mayor Matthew Wolmarans out, say they are still taking legal advice.
Wolmarans, who is serving a 20-year jail sentence for murdering a corruption whistle-blower, is still being paid a salary by the Rustenburg municipality.
This was confirmed by the current mayor, Mpho Khunou. The Mail & Guardian has established that although Wolmarans stepped down as mayor, his contract as council speaker is still in force and he is being paid R35 000 a month – despite the ANC national executive committee instructing that his party membership be rescinded, which meant he could no longer be a councillor.
The ANC North West provincial executive committee, led by party chairperson Supra Mahumapelo, is responsible for executing the national executive committee's instruction.
Wolmarans was jailed in the Rooigrond Prison in Mahikeng after being convicted on July 16 of masterminding the murder of Moss Phakoe. Wolmarans's driver, Enoch Matshaba, received a life sentence for firing the fatal shot.
Phakoe was killed in the driveway of his home in Rustenburg Noord in March 2009, two days after handing the late minister of co-operative governance, Sicelo Shiceka, a dossier containing evidence implicating the mayor in corruption.
Phakoe also allegedly went to President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead to hand him a copy of the document, although no action appears to have been taken. ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe was also allegedly given a copy, but he has denied it.
Sources in the municipality said people loyal to Wolmarans were processing his wages. The M&G has seen minutes of a council meeting on August 28, in which acting speaker Welcome Dlunge refers to Wolmarans as a "councillor" and proposes that he should be formally congratulated on his birthday on September 13.
A councillor, who asked to remain anonymous, said the council's hands were tied because the ANC's provincial executive committee had not issued an order for Wolmarans to be removed as speaker.
An ANC source said Wolmarans was on the agenda of the committee's political caucus two weeks ago in Mahikeng. At the meeting, Mahumapelo allegedly undertook to visit Wolmarans in prison to persuade him to resign.
The issue has divided the North West ANC. His detractors accuse Mahumapelo of giving the ex-mayor "false hopes" – that he would be released soon because he was part of a faction in the province that supports Zuma for a second term as ANC leader.
There are also allegations that Matshaba is still receiving a salary from the municipality.
The M&G has a memorandum, dated July 2, written by the secretary of the local branch of the South African Municipal Workers' Union, Tshenolo Ramorula, to the provincial minister for local government, China Dodovu, asking him to investigate claims that Matshaba has been paid his salary and a bonus while in jail.
Dodovu said: "I referred all the matters regarding Matshaba and Wolmarans to the council to deal with. We have taken a decision to terminate Wolmarans's employment as speaker and stop paying his salary because that man is a killer. He must be removed from his position or else we will remove him."
Dodovu, also the North West ANC deputy chairperson, said a councillor's contact had to be terminated if he or she skipped three consecutive council meetings without a valid reason. Asked about the meeting at which Mahumapelo undertook to "persuade" Wolmarans to resign, Dodovu said: "I don't want to go there. My view is that we must not protect that man because he killed a fellow councillor."
Dodovu said he would ask Khunou why Wolmarans was still being paid and would propose at the provincial executive committee's next meeting that his party membership be terminated.
But Ramorula said the matter had already been raised with Khunou, who has been accused of using his influence to see that the two men are still paid.
ANC sources said Khunou was head-hunted by Wolmarans's political supporters after the ANC national executive committee rejected a proposal that the latter should serve a second term as mayor, because he was facing murder charges.
Khunou's critics said his name was placed at the top of the list of candidates to replace Wolmarans as mayor, despite the fact that he was not on the list initially.
Approached for comment, Khunou said the council had sought legal opinion about how to resolve the Wolmarans issue, because the regulations pertaining to the criminal conviction of a councillor were "not clear". He could not explain why the municipality continued to pay Wolmarans, but said the council hoped to have obtained legal advice by the end of September.
Khunou admitted his name was not on the mayoral candidates' list initially because he "didn't have an interest to become a councillor". But the provincial executive committee had approached him after his name was put forward by the Bojanala regional executive committee.
He flatly denied putting pressure on officials to pay Wolmarans.
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