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ActionSA to ‘root out’ wrongdoing by its members in City of Tshwane caucus

ActionSA to ‘root out’ wrongdoing by its members in City of Tshwane caucus
Action SA members protest on 14 November 2022 in Benoni. (Photo: Gallo Images / OJ Koloti)

ActionSA is working on 'rooting out troublemakers' in its Tshwane caucus after an internal investigation found several issues with its members.

ActionSA continues to have internal woes, with the party now investigating its members in the City of Tshwane caucus in relation to the outcomes of an investigation that was carried out by the organisation’s Eastern Cape leader, Athol Trollip, last year.

The party’s national chair, Michael Beaumont, told Daily Maverick that ActionSA’s leadership had been alerted by coalition partners of several issues within the caucus that gave rise to concern. This led to the investigation, which recommended that a number of caucus members should face disciplinary action.

Beaumont would not, however, disclose details of the problems that were detected in the Trollip report. 

“ActionSA will work decisively on making sure that wrongdoing is rooted out. The Trollip report came out in December and occasioned investigations and this will lead to disciplinary action,” said Beaumont.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Does ActionSA want Gauteng coalitions to fail? The perplexing politics of Herman Mashaba” 

Members who are being investigated include Nkele Molapo, the chair of the Tshwane oversight committee on community safety; Mandla Mhlana, the deputy chair of the management team of the multiparty coalition; and Thabo Yabohlale, the party’s head of students.

Molapo and Mhlana would not be drawn on the matter, while Yabohlale was not answering calls.

Tshwane has been a strategic metro for ActionSA. It won 19 seats there, which makes it the fourth-largest party in the council. 

 

In Tshwane, ActionSA is in a coalition with the DA, Freedom Front Plus, Inkatha Freedom Party, African Christian Democratic Party and Congress of the People. 

Last week, a Tshwane proportional representation councillor, Sizwe Skhosana, was given a notice informing him that his membership had been terminated because of misconduct.

At the same time, former ActionSA caucus leader Abel Tau is still at loggerheads with the party.  

ActionSA dumped Tau almost three months ago after a disciplinary hearing by the party found him guilty of five out of six charges levelled against him. The charges related to abuse of power and leadership, and bringing the organisation into disrepute.

There was no ruling on the sixth charge — sexual assault — for which Tau will appear in the Pretoria North Magistrates’ Court next month.

Tau, a former acting mayor in the City of Tshwane, was one of several high-ranking DA members who jumped ship and joined Herman Mashaba’s  ActionSA in 2020.  

Read more in Daily Maverick: Fired— Action SA dumps Abel Tau after internal investigations into sexual assault charges

Tau is challenging the party’s actions and said he would take ActionSA to court for “their irrational decision from that bogus internal inquiry that was held”.

“The inquiry was testing on the balance of probabilities if I may have attempted to rape this lady who alleges such. Their inquiry concluded that they cannot find me guilty on the charge but decided to find me guilty on things which I was not charged with or asked to defend myself on.”

Tau has further challenged the sexual assault allegations, stating they were a political plot by members of ActionSA.

Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations

“I was ousted from ActionSA and as MMC of human settlements in the City of Tshwane because I refused to facilitate corrupt tender deals which would have benefited the party’s head of security, Bafana Mthimkhulu, and party leader Herman Mashaba’s niece Mokwine Parkies. And the sexual assault charges [were] used as a front.”  

Tau said ActionSA had been attacking his character publicly and he was setting the record straight.

On 2 February, Tau released a snippet of a recorded conversation allegedly between him and Mthimkhulu which he says he recorded because he knew he would have a problem with the party after not doing what Mthimkhulu wanted. Tau said Mthimkhulu had put pressure on him to direct contracts from the Department of Human Settlements to companies owned by Mthimkhulu that were registered under other people’s names.

Listen to the conversation snippet here:

Tau claims to have two other recorded conversations with Mthimkhulu, which he will release at the appropriate time. “I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag more than I need to,” he said.

Beaumont’s response

Beaumont said that criminal charges levelled against Tau arose from his alleged actions and not any conspiracy involving ActionSA.  

“The internal disciplinary panel found Tau guilty of five charges out of six that were levelled during the disciplinary hearing that relate to abuse of power and leadership, [and] bringing the organisation into disrepute.

“It is the sixth charge — alleged sexual assault — that relates to criminal conduct and that is the subject of court proceedings. As a party, ActionSA had to come to terms with the charges when Mr Tau’s conduct was considered in a disciplinary inquiry. It is our understanding that these charges are being taken seriously by the SAPS and NPA, demonstrating how there is a serious case for Mr Tau to answer for.”

Case confirmed

Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Mavela Masondo confirmed that a case against Tau had been opened at the Akasia police station in September 2022.

Daily Maverick could not get Mthimkhulu on record to respond to the allegations levelled against him by Tau.

However, Beaumont said ActionSA was looking into the matter of the voice recordings and the allegations, but noted that tenders were not referred to in the snippet that Tau released.

“While the party is looking into certain issues, we assert that Mr Tau is an individual lacking any credibility — a fact [evidenced] by his concern with these matters only arising after his departure and not during his time in ActionSA.” 

The party said it intended to sue Tau for defamation.

ActionSA, which is less than three years old, has expelled several members including its 2021 mayoral candidate for eThekwini, Makhosi Khoza. In August 2022, six members were booted out after it was suspected that they were in cahoots with the ANC. DM

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