ActionSA wields axe as it chops off two more councillors

Like how Chippa United in the PSL fire coaching staff willy-nilly, Herman Mashaba’s ActionSA is fast becoming notorious for chopping and changing councillors in Tshwane.

On Friday, Mashaba’s party kicked out two councillors Mpho Baloyi and Mandla Mhlana, adding to a growing list of other axed party representatives like Nkele Molapo and Abel Tau.

ActionSA claims that it has decided to expel Mhlana and Baloyi following the outcome of an internal investigation regarding councillors who had allegedly voted against the party line in favour of the disgraced former Cope mayor, Murunwa Makwarela.

Makwarela served in the office for just two days.

ActionSA chairperson Michael Beaumont said that the decision to fire Mhlana and Baloyi was taken after weeks of investigations revealed they had voted for Makwarela.

This week, the duo allegedly voted for the African Transformation Movement’s (ATM) Mncedi Ndzwanana to become the new speaker, once again defying the party.

“The investigation into councillors has been ongoing for weeks and has come to the conclusion that the councillors voted for Makwarela on 28 February and for the ATM candidate speaker, councillor Ndzwanana, on 13 March.

“It is further believed that Baloyi provided the location of the polygraph tests on 6 March to the EFF and was at least partially responsible for the disruption that occurred on that day.

“The investigation did not rely solely upon polygraph tests, having said this, both councillors failed on two separate occasions on both the question of voting against the coalition and being offered rewards for doing so.

“The investigations concluded that the polygraph test results are corroborated sufficiently by additional evidence for ActionSA to take these steps,” said Beaumont.

In a letter dated March 15, which ActionSA’s chairperson of the ethics and disciplinary committee Alistair Shaw wrote to Mhlana and Baloyi, the party cited that it viewed their alleged conduct as deliberate and intended to cause disruption and instability within its ranks in Tshwane.

“Your conduct brings the party into egregious disrepute. You have clearly voted against a caucus decision and/or instruction and have not elected to request permission to do so,” wrote Shaw in the letter.

“The allegations outlined herein, if found to be true, are a breach of the interim constitution of ActionSA. The interim senate may automatically terminate your membership.”

Upon receiving Shaw’s letter, Mhlana consulted his lawyer, Sakumzi Langa Attorneys Inc, who advised him to challenge ActionSA’s decision to fire him.

In the letter that the lawyers sent to Shaw on Thursday, Sakumzi Langa said Mhlana “vehemently denied that he had voted against the party caucus at any stage, and objects to your strong reliance on a polygraph test whose results are by their very nature never absolutely accurate”.

The lawyer’s letter reads in part: “On 28 February 2023 before the election of the mayor of the City of Tshwane, the caucus of ActionSA met before the multi-party caucus where our client, together with other ActionSA councillors, were told how to vote, specifically that it was concluded that they would vote for the candidate of the multi-party coalition, which is Mr Cilliers Brink. Our client voted according to the party line.

“On 13 March 2023, he had a one-on-one caucus with the national chairperson of ActionSA to advise him on how he must vote.

“The national chairperson gave our client a specific blue pen for him to cast his vote, the purpose of which our client understands to be that the party would use this tactic to understand how he voted.

“On the same day, our client complied with the instructions and voted for councillor Morodi.”

The lawyer said that on March 6 and 11, ActionSA subjected Mhlana to a polygraph test and his brief was that “although the results were not made available to him, he was advised by the national chairperson that the polygraph results indicated deception”.

According to Langa, Mhlana is demanding written statements from the people who allege that he had voted against the party caucus, the results of both polygraph tests taken on March 6 and 11, and evidence that he had voted for Ndzwanana during the election for the speaker in the troubled City of Tshwane.

Langa has given ActionSA until Saturday to respond.

Baloyi also said that he was consulting with his lawyer to plot a way forward.

“They are dealing with us. Everyone who is close to Tau is a target. They needed us to snitch on him, and if you do not oblige, they will target you. Their reasons for my expulsion are baseless,” said Baloyi.

“The election in which Makwarela was voted mayor was by secret ballot. They also told me to mark my vote with an X and circle it on the ballot. I want them to give me proof that I voted for Makwarela and Ndzwanana.

“They told me that I had failed the polygraph test, and I asked them to give me the results, but they failed to do so. I will be consulting with my lawyers in this regard.

“I was given a charge sheet where I was accused of sending EFF to the location to come and disrupt the polygraph tests.

“I asked ActionSA if I was working with the EFF, why would I post the location on Facebook, 3km away from the polygraph test venue?

“This is hurtful and I knew that I was going to be fired for being vocal and radical.”

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