ANC ward councillor denies DA entry to Sethokga

DA PR Councillors Lebo Makhathini, Smangele Sabe, Phillip Thamahane (front) and Eunice Mabuya, Victor Lukhele and Khali Siboniso (back), after being denied entry to Sethokga Family Units on Wednesday, May 17.

Malebo Tseke

On May 17 the Democratic Alliance (DA) announced that its oversight committee led by Clr Mabekenyane Thamahane, DA shadow MMC for Human Settlements in Ekurhuleni, would pay a site visit to the Sethokga Family Units.

The purpose of the site visit was to inspect the state of the family units that were built by the Department of Human Settlements.

“It has been two years since the department built these flats but we found them still unoccupied. The last time we conducted a site visit, we were informed that the department was still busy with sewer connections and concluding on the matter of rental prices. Surely these issues are now resolved two years later,” said Thamahane.

He said the DA in Ekurhuleni is concerned that while the department is “concluding” on these matters, there are Ekurhuleni residents that are living in squalor.

Also read: UPDATE: Situation calm following reported violence at Sethokga Hostel

“What is the point of building these beautiful flats if they cannot be utilised by our people?

“We also realised that there are security personnel permanently stationed at these flats to avoid vandalism. While this may be perceived as a good idea, it is actually wasteful expenditure because it could be avoided if the flats were occupied by their beneficiaries,” added Thamahane.

Upon their arrival at Sethokga, Thamahane and the oversight committee were denied entry. The ANC’s ward 100 councillor, Clr Mabotha Phokwane, allegedly instructed the security personnel to close the gate and not allow the DA councillors access.

“It is clear that the ANC councillor does not understand the separation of powers [principle] that has been adopted by this metro. By denying us entry, the councillor is actually keeping us from doing our jobs as councillors and as oversight committee members. The DA in Ekurhuleni will not be taking this matter lightly. We plan to take the said councillor to the Ethics and Integrity Committee,” said Thamahane.

Also read: EMM responds to Sethokga Hostel saga

Phokwane told the Tembisan he couldn’t allow the DA to do the oversight visit as an individual party – because oversight is jointly undertaken by councillors from different parties in council.

When asked about the progress of infrastructure at Sethokga Family Units, he said construction is still underway with respect to roads, storm-water, parking, paving and landscaping.

“I became a councillor in this ward in August last year and the Sethokga Family Units did not have water and electricity at the time. The units currently have tested water and electricity. The occupation of the family units will be done after all the construction is done,” said Phokwane.

The Tembisan sent a request for comment on May 22 to Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality and questioned the progress of infrastructure at Sethokga Family Units.

Fury over new hostel plans

Malebo Tseke

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