Fraud accusations overshadow Joburg mayor’s key address

ActionSA is demanding that City of Johannesburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda address allegations of fraud or potentially face a motion of no confidence.

This ahead of Gwamanda’s scheduled inaugural state of the city address on Tuesday, marking a month since he assumed office as the mayor of the country’s wealthiest metro.

The accusations against Gwamanda emerged shortly after he assumed the mayoral position, with DA’s Mpho Phalatse claiming to possess evidence linking him to fraudulent activities through his company, iThemba Lama Afrika.

Phalatse alleged that Gwamanda had been involved in deceiving and defrauding members of the public in relation to funeral insurance investments.

On Monday, Funzi Ngobeni, the caucus leader of ActionSA, stressed the importance of Gwamanda addressing the allegations in his upcoming address.

Ngobeni expressed concerns about the state of service delivery in the city, including issues such as potholes, power outages, and water shortages, and argued that the mayor’s alleged involvement in fraudulent activities further exacerbated the declining situation.

“We cannot allow the economic capital of South Africa to be run by a mayor who is facing serious allegations of scamming residents of funeral insurance investments at a time when service delivery is on the decline across the city – with potholes, power outages, and water shedding all on the rise,” said Ngobeni.

Ngobeni also accused the ANC-EFF coalition of shielding Gwamanda from public accountability by restricting his engagements and limiting him to delivering “scripted remarks”.

He said ActionSA believes Gwamanda’s mayorship cannot continue while serious allegations of scamming the city’s residents hang over his head.

The party is demanding transparency and accountability from the mayor, citing the need for effective governance and improved service delivery.

“ActionSA believes that a situation cannot continue where Gwamanda remains mayor of this important city at a time when he is accused of scamming the very residents of the city he swore an oath to serve. That is why we are demanding accountability in this regard.”

Gwamanda, a member of the Al Jama-ah party, was elected with the support of the ANC, EFF, and several minority parties in the 270-seat Joburg council.

Despite the allegations, the mayor has avoided media opportunities to deal with the accusations, leading to further speculation surrounding his alleged involvement in fraudulent activities.

Additionally, the party has criticized Gwamanda for his inability to articulate a clear vision for the city’s future and restore good governance and effective service delivery.

“Not only is Gwamanda – who is a compromised candidate between the ANC-EFF after the failure of Thapelo Amad – accused of serious offenses, but he has also consistently shown to be unable to articulate a vision for the city to restore good governance and service delivery,” said Ngobeni.

“This means the residents of Johannesburg have been left to fend for themselves while the ANC-EFF [coalition] elects a compromised candidate in order for them to remain in power in the City of Johannesburg.” 

The upcoming state of the city address will be the 21st in Johannesburg since the tradition began in 2002.


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