Ngwathe municipality manager blocked from reporting for work

The political drama in an ANC-led Free State municipality continues to rear its ugly head with senior officials complaining about intimidation.

Sunday World reported last week that a senior manager in the budget and expenditure division in Ngwathe local municipality, Themba Mpindo, was attacked by one of the municipality’s part-time workers hired under the the government’s expanded public works programme.

The implicated worker was later arrested and confessed to police that he acted on instructions of mayor Victoria de Beer-Mthombeni to assault Mpindo.

Since then Mpindo found himself in the sticky situation twice again when a group of 15 employees who claim to be members of the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) blocked him from accessing the municipal offices on Thursday last week and Wednesday this week.

Mpindo told Sunday World on Wednesday that the group, which he alleged was led by three Samwu shop stewards, has been blocking him from doing his work.

He identified the shop stewards as Tsoago Bodibe, Mphonyana Phele and her husband Kgutli Phele.
Samwu refutes allegations

Samwu provincial secretary Tiisetso Mahlatsi distanced the union from any wrongdoing “peddled by people”. He rejected the allegation that the union members were involved in blocking Mpindo from reporting for work.

Mahlatsi said he had seen a press statement that is circulating on social media claiming to have been issued by Samwu’s leadership in Ngwathe.

“We are not aware of any Samwu members blocking Mpindo from accessing the municipal offices. Also, our members are not allowed to stop anyone from going to work,” he said.

“Clearly those whom you said are blocking Mpindo are not our members. I also like to caution that the statement that is circulating on social media, making all sorts of allegations, was not issued by us nor our regional leadership or our local leaders in Ngwathe.

“We therefore distance ourselves from such and we are not going to be dragged into something that has nothing to do with us.

“We are going to investigate this as we cannot allow rogue elements to use our organisation’s name to fight their dirty battles.”

Mpindo adamant trio was involved

However, Mpindo told Sunday World that the Pheles and Bodibe were involved in organising the group.

“These three people whom I mention were instrumental in having me blocked. Tsoago and Kgutli were the ones at the forefront while Mphonyana was in the background,” said Mpindo.

Mphonyana distanced herself from the drama and said: “I am at work as we speak and I don’t know anything regarding what you are talking about. Regarding the media statement, I also saw it when it was sent to me. I didn’t write it.”

Asked about her husband’s involvement in the matter, she said: “I refer to anyone as my colleague, hence I say I am at work.”

Bodibe’s phone rang unanswered while Kgutli’s phone was constantly off.

The Ngwathe municipality had not responded to Sunday World’s questions at the time of publishing. The story will be updated once the municipality’s comment has been received.

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