/ 22 April 2024

‘Special leave’ not justified, MEC Mandla Msibi tells Mpumalanga premier

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Mpumalanga’s cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC, Mandla Msibi

Mpumalanga’s cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC, Mandla Msibi, has told Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane that he was “not convinced” his special leave from office was based on his performance and thus cannot be justified.

The decision came two weeks after ANC provincial secretary Muzi Chirwa announced that the party had suspended Msibi, then the party’s provincial treasurer, for three years, two years of which have been lifted on condition he does not commit the same offence.  

In a letter to Mtsweni-Tsipane, signed by Msibi and dated 18 April, he said he was busy with provincial projects, and therefore should not be placed on special leave.  

He also said: “I am not convinced that the special leave is based on my performance as the MEC and that of the department, and therefore cannot be justified.”

The party took action after Msibi participated in protests around Pienaar, demanding an audience with Cyril Ramaphosa before the president’s 8 January statement in Mpumalanga this year. Msibi is also appealing the suspension. 

This is the second time that Msibi has been in trouble with the ANC. He was forced to step aside in 2021 after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) charged him with two murders. The NPA withdrew the charges in 2022.

Msibi would not comment on the letter. 

In his letter, Msibi told Mtsweni-Tsipane that he, his department and municipalities were still “evaluating and monitoring” “critical water shortages brought about by infrastructure collapse especially in eMalahleni and Msukaligwa”.

“As you may be aware, I have recently directed use of water trucks and other alternative arrangements as I’m currently seized with trying to stabilise the pressing situation in those municipalities,” reads the letter.

Msibi added that he should not be suspended because he was involved with “crucial matters” concerning the grievances of amakhosi in the province. The matters had previously been raised with Deputy President Paul Mashatile, he said. 

It would thus not be prudent that he be placed on special leave, he said, “when a lot still needs to be addressed and finalised for both local governments and traditional leaders”.

“I therefore wish to respectfully advise against a special leave during this pressing period and rather concentrate on serving our people in the province as a responsible government.”

Mtsweni-Tsipane’s office did not respond to numerous requests for comment.