Durban – The ANC wants councillors charged with corruption in the eThekwini metro to be hauled before its integrity committee in KwaZulu-Natal.
This comes after the Hawks arrested four councillors on Wednesday in connection with the city’s R208million solid waste tender.
The councillors, who have since appeared in the Durban Commercial Crime Court and been released on R5000 bail, are Nomthandazo Shabalala, Nomusa Mthembu, Sthenjwa Nyawose and Thembelihle de Lange.
They were charged for allegedly receiving gratifications and for money laundering, fraud, contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act and Municipal Systems Act.
ANC KwaZulu-Natal provincial spokesperson Ricardo Mthembu said the arrests were an embarrassment to the governing party, which wants the matter referred to the commission.
“The ANC would make sure that they appear before it to answer for themselves about the criminal charges they are facing. The ANC wants them to explain before it decides how to deal with the matter,” Mthembu said.
He said the integrity commission would be expected to make recommendations to the provincial executive committee about action to be taken against the councillors.
According to Mthembu, the ANC was shocked and embarrassed to find out that its deployees were in breach of the government processes.
“We take this matter very seriously, and we support the police for doing their job by investigating thoroughly, and when there is wrongdoing, people should answer in court,” he said.
The arrest of the councillors means there have now been 22 people arrested in the solid waste tender.
Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede was arrested in May with 16 councillors and municipal employees, and were each granted R50000 bail.
She was removed from her post after the ANC found she had underperformed her mayoral duties but remained a councillor despite criminal charges she was facing.
Mthembu insisted those facing criminal cases were being referred to the commission. “The integrity commission is more effective after a person has been found guilty by a court of law, and right now mama Zandile has not been found guilty,” said Mthembu.
Provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala said deployees facing criminal charges would be asked to step aside voluntarily to deal with their criminal charges. “The comrade who is charged must take leave, but if the comrade is not taking voluntary leave, the ANC would be compelled to remove that comrade,” Zikalala said in June.