Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance has lambasted the ruling party for its inaction over a suspended mayor and regional chairperson in Gauteng accused of sexual abuse after African National Congress provincial chairperson Paul Mashatile held off the swearing in of an interim mayor indefinitely this week.
The man cannot be named as he has not appeared in court yet.
He is due to appear in court on November 28 at the Vanderbijlpark Magistrate’s Court.
The DA added that it would table a motion of no confidence against the ex-mayor to ensure his removal as the Gauteng ANC’s “continuous rhetoric on ‘condemning’ sexual violence against women and children means absolutely nothing, when no strong action is taken and [the mayor] remains in his position”.
He was placed on special leave at the end of October after the ANC’s integrity commission intervened following an allegation that he sent a picture of a half-naked 14-year-old girl to a WhatsApp group of ANC members.
The party said he would be investigated for sexual grooming.
Although ANC Gauteng secretary Hope Mankwana Papo said at the time that an acting mayor would be appointed in due course, those plans were put on hold as Mashatile called for fairness.
The DA said Mashatile’s call was worrying “following the slap on the wrist ‘special leave'” for the suspended mayor.
“Mashatile’s about-turn comes at a time when the ANC in Gauteng is more divided than ever, ahead of the ANC’s elective congress in December,” read a statement from the DA.
The opposition party said the move gave the impression that the suspended mayor was being exonerated of the allegations.
“For Emfuleni to be mayor-less at a time when the municipality cannot pay its own bills or pay its workers, nor deliver basic services to residents, is disgraceful. Emfuleni deserves a new beginning; residents will see radical change in their lifetime as the DA continually grows in the Vaal region,” the party said.
Police have also confirmed that a criminal case had been opened against the mayor, and that it was being handled by the provincial family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit.
The ANC initially said that it was not in a position to comment, but condemned the violation of girls and women. DM
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