Matatiele council to probe mayor’s alleged misuse of funds to attend ANC conference

The council in Matatiele says it has decided to conduct an internal investigation after Mayor Sonwabile Mngenela allegedly misused the local municipality’s funds to attend an ANC conference.

The Mail & Guardian has obtained documents showing that the Matatiele municipality spent R13 914 to cover accommodation and travel costs for Mngenela, his driver and councillor Nomaroma Ludidi-Ndabane to attend the Eastern Cape ANC conference in East London in May.

Mngenela had in fact been authorised to attend a bilateral meeting with the National Association of People Living with HIV and Aids (Napwa) — also in East London — from 5 May to 8 May. Officials said he did not show up. 

In a statement, the municipality said during a council meeting, a member from an opposition party had filed an urgent motion to look into the allegations.  

“The municipality would like to [assure] the people of Matatiele that primary to the task of achieving a clean audit, all matters relating to irregular, unauthorised and fruitless expenditure are dealt with on a daily basis, following local government regulations, so as to ensure that this task is realised,” it said.

According to Napwa provincial manager Nontsikelelo Gcwabe, the organisation had called Mngenela — after his no-show — to tell him, “We had concluded the meeting and, if he is free he can come, and he responded on Whatsapp saying he was still held up at another meeting, which wasn’t the one he was meant to attend.”

Democratic Alliance councillor in Matatiele Wonga Potwana said he was aware of the allegations against the mayor. 

“As the DA, we have managed to get a paper trail that shows the theft of R13 000 by means of false booking. I will table this information in council as an urgent matter then, once everything is in order, we will open a case of theft in Matatiele police station,” he said.

Potwana vowed that he would ensure the law took its course in the matter and that he would initiate a vote of no confidence against Mngenela.

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