Municipality won’t remove former mayor, despite home affairs demands

The home affairs department has given a Free State municipality an ultimatum to remove former executive mayor Nthateng Maoke from its payroll because she continues to draw a salary as an ordinary councillor, despite having been found to be an illegal immigrant.

In a strongly worded letter to the Setsoto council’s speaker Krog Mokhuoane two weeks ago, the department said that the municipality’s continued employment of Maoke, whom it found during an investigation last year to be a Lesotho national, was in violation of the Immigration Act. 

But Maoke is fighting back. Through her lawyers, she has interdicted the government from arresting her or deporting her to Lesotho.

Maoke, who was the ANC’s executive mayor from 2016 in the small municipality of Ficksburg, unceremoniously resigned from her position in December last year, after home affairs alleged that she had fraudulently obtained her South African citizenship. 

The ANC in the Free State, however, retained her as an ordinary councillor. According to the ANC, she continued to draw her salary because she had lodged a court review against the department regarding her citizenship status. 


Home affairs, however, is now having none of that, and has warned that should the municipality not comply with removing Maoke from its payroll it will take legal action against the council. 

“… Mrs Maoke is an illegal foreigner and the review before the court does not suspend the decision taken by the department … You are therefore instructed in terms of section 36 of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 to initiate the process of terminating her employment with immediate effect, failure of which will leave the department with no choice but to take further legal action against the council for employing an illegal foreigner,” the letter read.

As executive mayor, Maoke was getting paid just over R500 000 a year. As an ordinary councillor she draws about R300 000 in salary. 

The eastern Free State municipality is made up of Ficksburg, Clocolan, Marquard and Senekal with an estimated population size of 125 751. The municipality has failed many of its residents in terms of service delivery — in Ficksburg, people are still using the bucket toilet system and in December, residents were forced to search for other water access points because their taps spewed muddy water. This is the same town where activist Andries Tatane was killed by police in 2011 during a service delivery protest. 

In Senekal, numerous service delivery protests have taken place in the past few years with residents demanding proper waterworks.

The ANC in that province has faced criticism from its own factions and the opposition over its handling of the matter. Mokhuoane told the Mail & Guardian that the municipality has found itself in a tough situation.  

“Subsequent to that letter from the department I received a letter from the attorneys of Maoke. They told me that they have an interdict to deport or arrest her until the court has decided over the matter [her citizenship]. It is only then when the high court gives us a judgment on the matter that we can act. There is nothing we can really do now and we have responded to the department,” said Mokhuoane. 

The department told the M&G previously that it had reached its decision that Maoke was a Lesotho national not eligible to hold public office, after a thorough investigation which proved that she was an illegal immigrant. 

Numerous attempts to get comment from Maoke’s legal representatives Van Aardt & Van Der Walt attorneys were not successful.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Thanduxolo Jika
Thanduxolo Jika

Thanduxolo Jika is an investigative Journalist and Co-Author of We are going to kill each other today:The Marikana Story. The Messiah of Abantu.

Related stories

Durban city manager says NPA erred in his bail conditions

The corruption-fraught metro is coming to grips with having a municipal manager who is on bail for graft, yet has returned to work

Does the Expropriation Bill muddy the land question even further?

Land ownership and its equitable distribution has floundered. Changes to a section of the constitution and the expropriation act are now before parliament, but do they offer any solution?

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

Eusebius McKaiser: Reject the dichotomy of political horrors

Senekal shows us that we must make a stand against the loud voice of the populist EFF and racist rightwingers

The demon of cronyism in the public service must be crushed

When employees do not give their best, it is the organisation that suffers the most. In the case of government this directly affects citizens

Sitting targets and lame ducks

Everybody’s staying pozi, which is making all the arrests easy for the Hawks. Only Ace is desperate to be seen
Advertising

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Malawi court judges win global prize

Members of the small African country’s judiciary took a stand for democracy to international approval

Durban city manager says NPA erred in his bail conditions

The corruption-fraught metro is coming to grips with having a municipal manager who is on bail for graft, yet has returned to work

Why anti-corruption campaigns are bad for democracy

Such campaigns can draw attention to the widespread presence of the very behaviour they are trying to stamp out — and subconsciously encourage people to view it as appropriate

Tax, wage bill, debt, pandemic: Mboweni’s tightrope budget policy statement

The finance minister has to close the jaws of the hippo and he’s likely to do this by tightening the country’s belt, again.
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday