POLITICAL NEWS - Democratic Alliance deputy chief whip in Tshwane Mpho Mehlape-Zimu, accompanied by DA whips, has laid criminal charges against the ANC Tshwane caucus for allegedly forging councillor signatures in an attempt to convene an “illegal” council sitting last week.
Seven cases of fraud were opened at the Brooklyn police station on Monday morning, calling on the police’s handwriting experts to analyse the petition which includes the allegedly forged signatures.
In a statement, the party said it had been informed of “misconduct of the ANC where they tried to force the speaker of council to call a council meeting by means of a petition signed by all its members”.
“After investigation, it has become clear that some of these signatures have allegedly been forged, which is a fraudulent act.
“Subsequent to the preliminary investigation by the office of the speaker, and an internal investigation by the DA in the city, the DA believes that the ANC Caucus in the City of Tshwane has a case to answer.
“During our internal investigation, we have confirmed that there are at least seven signatures that might appear to be forged and it is for this reason that we are approaching the SAPS to open fraud cases against the ANC Caucus.”
Tshwane DA deputy chief whip Mpho Mehlape-Zimu said: “We have in our possession the registers of the petitions. The one was submitted on 3 January and one on 8 January… But we also did a comparison with the three previous meetings – November, October and September… When you look at those signatures with the naked eye, you can see that they are incorrect.
“Police can mobilise their resources, their handwriting experts and all of that, so that they can put the matter to rest and if there is a case to be answered to, let those councillors take responsibility because it cannot be accepted that public representatives use such underhanded tactics to try and overturn a government,” she said.
The party plans to approach Gauteng cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Lebogang Maile to call for the suspension of the councillors involved.
Last week, speaker Katlego Mathebe declined the urgent request by the ANC and EFF to hold a council meeting that could have seen Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa ousted.
She cancelled the meeting citing the possible forging of signatures.
The speaker said she would investigate if councillors did not contravene the Councillors’ Code of Conduct after she allegedly found seven signatures in the ANC caucus document that did not match the signatures in the files of the council meeting’s attendance registers.
The statement read: “The same document also looks like a copy and paste of the signatures that were submitted to support the request of the [December 5 2019] meeting. Both these issues render the ANC document improper legally. The EFF document has only 25 signatures which do not satisfy the requirements of Section 29(1) Local Government: Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998. Therefore she resolved that she cannot legally convene the Special Council Meeting, as per the request of the ANC and the EFF.”
ANC Tshwane chair Kgosi Maepa called the DA “trash” for suggesting that the ANC forged their own signatures, adding they were “obsolete” and “irrelevant”.
“The truth is that the DA has completely failed to govern the City of Tshwane. These are the last kicks of a dying blue horse called the Democratic Alliance.”
The ANC later filed another request for a special council sitting. Speaker Mathebe confirmed receipt of the petition and decided to convene the requested Special Council Meeting on Thursday, January 16, at 10am.
Numerous attempts to contact police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo for confirmation were unsuccessful at the time of publication.