Man shot, mayoral car damaged following violent altercations in Siyabuswa
A Mpumalanga man had to be admitted to hospital after being shot in the arm following an incident in which a mayor and his security detail allegedly drew firearms on protesters in Siyabuswa on Monday.
A group of protesting community members who had gathered around the entrance of the municipal offices clashed with mayor Thulare Madileng and several men who are allegedly part of his security detail. Madileng was being prevented from entering the municipal offices when the incident happened.
According to three eye witnesses who spoke to Sowetan, the armed men allegedly including Madileng drew firearms as the community was preventing him from entering the municipal offices.
"They must have fired around seven shots, and one of the protesters was hit on the arm and I had to rush him to a doctor who called an ambulance for him," said Themba Mahlangu, one of the community leaders.
Madileng has been embroiled in a conflict with municipal manager Thami Ngobeni. The protracted battle has even seen the intervention of the courts and the office of the public protector investigating allegations of maladministration and corruption.
When approached for comment, Madileng said: "The truth is I have terminated the Contract of Kubheka the former municipal manager of the Dr JS Moroka Local Municipality. The Security company, G8 GOVIC reportedly owned by a certain Mr Calvin Mahlangu, illegally appointed by the former municipal manager, has denied me access to the municipality, assisted hooligans who are always sitting at the gate of the municipality to ambush me, shoot at me and throw stones attempting to kill me."Madileng claimed to have survived a "second attempt on my life through his (Kubheka's) rented hooligans yet again."
When asked about drawing a firearm and also shooting at the protesters, Madileng said: "I do not carry a firearm."
Sowetan has learnt that residents were protesting because there were rumours that Madileng was going to stop interviews for positions which the municipality advertised late last year. From 5am, members of the community gathered at the entrance of the municipal offices with the intention of preventing Madileng from stopping interviews which were scheduled for Monday.
Kubheka said Madileng was trying to go against a court judgment by attempting to remove him from his position illegally.
"The mayor is pipe dreaming because the court has made it clear through a court judgment... therefore, if he thinks council can change this he has to approach court to seek a review," said Kubheka.
He said council was being used to distabilize operations and control measures in the municipality."
Unfortunately, the notion that I'm expelled must be tested in court where he (Madileng) should seek a declaratory or enforcement order before I can consider approaching on their unconstitutional action," Kubheka said.
Kubheka has made numerous allegations of corruption and looting against the mayor, and has since been supported by the community which has been protesting in his support and protection since April last year. Madileng and the council have passed several resolutions to either suspend or expel Kubheka since last year which were reversed by the courts. Madileng said Kubheka's presence at the municipality was illegal.
"He is actually trespassing. He's stealing and looting municipal resources and. money," Madileng said.
But why is Madileng and council not approaching the courts to obtain an order that bars him from entering the premises?
"I thought he will respect Council that has employed him. I have started that court process but why is Thami not contesting my dismissal at the Labour court?" asked Madileng. Madileng's car was damaged after it was pelted with stones.