Councillor 'forced us to back him'

BASIC government free services, such as RDP houses and food parcels, were allegedly used to garner the support of the poor during a squabble between a local chief and an ANC ward councillor.

BASIC government free services, such as RDP houses and food parcels, were allegedly used to garner the support of the poor during a squabble between a local chief and an ANC ward councillor.

Ward18 councilor in the Blouberg municipality, David Sematla, has been accused by residents in Taaibosch of forcing them to support him or miss out on getting basic government services.

Sematla made this threat at a series of meetings held in Separakeng, at which issues pertaining to the chief's forced removal from the village for failing to account for R250000 collected from the villagers, were discussed

Other issues related to alleged corruption in the royal family, council and the legitimacy of Lucas Mamadi as village chief.

Destitute families, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Sowetan that Sematla told them it was only the ANC government, led by him in the area, that could give them free RDP houses, water, electricity and food parcels.

"But you can only get those if you support me and my comrades in our campaign to unseat Mamadi as chief and to remove him from the village because he is corrupt and not a legitimate chief ," one villager reported him as saying.

The rift between Se-matla and the Mamadi royal family started when the chief and Babirwa baga Mamadi Cooperative failed to produce financial statements of money collected from the village.

The cooperative "collected" R100 from each of about 170 households last year and R50 this year.

The money was to buy land from a local farmer for residential and grazing purposes.

Sematla and his son Dan and the incensed community allegedly locked the gates of some of the royal buildings, demanding the chief's removal.

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