DA lays criminal charges against mayor of Matatiele municipality

Issued by Cllr Wonga Potwana – DA Matatiele Caucus Leader
06 Jul 2023 in Press Statements

The DA in the Eastern Cape has laid criminal charges against the mayor of the Matatiele municipality after he allegedly abused municipal funds of more than R13 000 to attend an ANC conference.

Yesterday, 5 July 2023, I was joined by DA Alfred Nzo Constituency Leader, Baxolile Nodada MP, in opening a case of fraud against mayor Sonwabile Mngenela at the Matatiele Police Station.

(see pictures here and here)

This followed the cash-strapped municipality authorising accommodation and travel costs to the tune of R13 914 for Mngenela, his driver and an ANC councillor to attend a meeting in East London.

The trip was authorised by the municipality under the guise that the mayor would be attending a meeting with the National Association of People Living with HIV and AIDS (NAPWA) in East London. However, it was reported that the mayor never attended the meeting with NAPWA but attended the ANC Eastern Cape conference from 5-8 May 2022 in East London.

The initial trip authorisation form was made out on 22 April 2022 for the meeting with NAPWA, that would have coincided with the ANC provincial conference. After the start of the ANC conference was postponed to 5 May, the same authorisation form was amended and the meeting with NAPWA moved to the same date.

The DA is in possession of documents proving that the authorisation form was manipulated, and that the mayor never attended the meeting with NAPWA.

Last year the DA not only submitted a motion to council requesting an investigation into the matter, but also submitted questions in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature to get clarity on if the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) planned to act.

In September 2022, the MEC replied that a report has been requested from the Matatiele municipality. Since then, no feedback has been forthcoming.

The ANC provincial government is unwilling to act against one of its own, and we have now turned to the police to investigate

This while service delivery in Matatiele has come to a grinding halt, roads and bridges are falling apart, and many areas are still without running water.

The DA is fighting for the residents of Matatiele and will not allow the ANC to further loot the municipality.