The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Mpumalanga and ActionSA are on a collision course over maladministration allegations dating back 20 years ago.
This week, DA member of the provincial legislature, Trudie Grovè-Morgan, called on Mandla Msibi, the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, to launch an investigation into ActionSA’s provincial chairperson, Thoko Mashiane.
According to Grovè-Morgan, Mashiane was embroiled in a R45 million sports facility project that failed to take off in 2003, said the DA MPL. ActionSA dismissed the DA move as a “malicious witch-hunt”.
Mashiane, a high-ranking ANC member at the time, was Ehlanzeni district municipality manager when millions of rands budgeted to build Schoemansdal Stadium in Nkomazi Local Municipality allegedly went missing. Mashiane joined Herman Mashaba’s Action SA in August 2022 and was immediately appointed Action SA Mpumalanga chairperson.
Grovè-Morgan said Mashiane “must come clean and explain what happened to the missing millions of rands” when she was at the helm of the district municipality.
“In 2003, while Mashiane was manager of Ehlanzeni District, the municipality budgeted and started building the Schoemansdal Stadium with the aim of getting young people off the streets of the deep rural area,” said Grovè-Morgan.
The DA claims that in order to carry out the initial part of the project, a particular company was appointed and paid the handsome figure of R1,3 million to clear the specified field and erect amenities like changing rooms and restrooms.
“After the completion of Phase 1, the project was abandoned, and 20 years later, the toilets and change rooms have been vandalized and neglected,” Grovè-Morgan said.
However, the DA failed to produce evidence of the alleged missing millions when pressed for it. Instead, Grovè-Morgan admitted that she was acting on a rumour.
“The DA also calls on the MEC of CoGTA, Mandla Msibi, to conduct his own investigation into this project… Mashiane must explain what happened with the project. It had been rumored that R45 million was budgeted and allocated for the whole project, but only R1,3 million for Phase 1 can be accounted for. What happened to the outstanding R43,7 million?” Grovè-Morgan said.
It is unclear why the DA would suddenly launch such a brazen attack on ActionSA. The two parties are an integral part of the John Steenhuisen-led Moonshot Pact, known as the Multi-Party Charter for South Africa. They are also coalition partners in the Tshwane and Joburg Metros.
ActionSA’s provincial spokesperson, Smangaliso Shongwe, said they were shocked to see the DA treating “whistleblower” Mashiane like an enemy.
According to media statements dating back to January, Mashiane reported the Schoemansdal sporting facility matter to the Public Protector and the Hawks.
“We, as ActionSA, see the statement by the DA as the malicious witchhunt that it is, considering that this was exposed by Thoko Mashiane herself as the ActionSA chairperson in the Province. Mrs. Thoko Mashiane issued the statement on January 23, 2023, exposing the stadium corruption at Ehlanzeni District Municipality. She is, in fact, a whistleblower in this regard,” said Shongwe.
According to ActionSA, Mashiane wrote a formal complaint to the Hawks on January 27, 2023, calling for an investigation into all stadia built under the district municipality.
“We issued statements and have written to the Hawks to investigate all the stadiums that were supposed to be built by Ehlanzeni District Municipality. Mashiane concurred that she was the municipal manager at the time, but she never saw the completion of the stadium and resigned as a municipal manager.
“The second question arises. How can Mrs. Mashiane write to the Hawks to investigate if she is part of the corruption? This is a nonsensical accusation by the DA. The DA only wants to get political mileage by denting the image of ActionSA and Mrs. Mashiane because they are losing what little support they have in the province,” Shongwe said.
ActionSA also called upon Msibi to investigate the matter and report back to the people of Mpumalanga.
Msibi was not immediately available for comment.