Fed-up community wants corrupt mayor, council speaker fired

Enraged community members under the Nketoana local municipality in the Free State plan to march for the immediate dismissal of the mayor, Mamiki Mokoena, and speaker of the council Buyi Makoba.

The march, organised by the Reitz-Petsana community leaders, is set to take place on Tuesday and will highlight a list of grievances against the two municipal officials, some of which have been left unattended for many years.

“Several corruption cases were opened against the mayor where she had been accused of stealing from the public purse. As a community, we believe that both the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] and the Hawks are dragging their feet in dealing with this matters,” reads the petition in part.

“During this period [2016-2019], the Nketoana local municipality had about three municipal managers because of the allegations that they were not smoking a peace pipe with the mayor, as they could not get along with her because of her alleged stealing habits. It is the same with the current municipal manager.

“The 2022/2023 IDP [integrated development planning] budget processes were not properly followed and surprisingly the budget got approved even though both the MEC and the cooperative governance and traditional affairs head of department [Cogta HOD] were made aware of such.

“No stakeholders and community engagement were conducted in this regard, and it is alarming.”

The community further alleges that Mokoena never qualified to contest the local government elections, adding that voters were shocked to see her return for second term even though “she had never been the people’s choice”.

The petition also accuses Makoba of being the mayor’s right-hand person. “She [the speaker] is also involved in a corruption court case involving the mayor during 2016-2019 term of office.

“The very same way the mayor emerged in local government elections happened with the speaker of the Nketoana local municipality,” reads the document.

Community leader Tumelo Monyatsi said the march is the community’s last resort in an effort to raise alarm about corruption that is taking place in the municipality.

“We have been writing letters to the MEC, Cogta HOD, and the premier about the municipality not following IDP processes, and we are not getting any joy from those offices,” according to Monyatsi.

“In May 2022, there was an IDP/budget roadshow and the community rejected what was presented to them. We were promised that they [government officials] will come back with a reviewed IDP/budget, but they never came back.

“To our surprise, the budget has been approved without the endorsement of the community. Enough is enough.”

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