ANOTHER by-election is looming in Mthonjaneni Municipality following the conviction of ward 7 Councillor Eric Mthokozisi Mthembu for stock theft.
Mthembu was arrested in December last year in Vryheid for stealing 11 cows from farms near Piet Retief.
Mpumalanga provincial spokesperson, Brigadier Leonard Hlathi, confirmed that Mthembu was found guilty in the Piet Retief Regional Court and will be sentenced next Tuesday.
‘He was arrested at a roadblock in Vryheid after a complainant had informed the police that his livestock had gone missing.
‘An alert was circulated and KZN police set up the roadblock and a truck carrying 11 cows was stopped. Mthembu was arrested after the livestock owner identified his cattle.’
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Mthonjaneni Speaker Ntombiyenkosi Jiyane said he was unaware of the conviction, but would investigate to determine whether the conviction reports were true.
‘Two weeks ago we had an Integrated Development Plan roadshow in Mthembu’s ward and when I asked about his whereabouts, I was told by ANC whip Maqeqeshe Mchunu that Mthembu was admitted to a hospital in Durban.’
ANC Musa Dladla Regional Secretary Tholinhlanhla Gwala said he knew nothing about Mthembu’s conviction.
‘We have heard rumours, mainly from the media, but I don’t have any firm evidence to confirm this.
‘Should these rumours prove to be true, we will take the necessary steps.’
According to the provincial Electoral Officer Mawethu Mosery, if a ward councillor is found guilty of any crime and is sentenced to 12 months without the option of a fine, he loses his seat.
‘If that is the case, the municipal Speaker will have to write to us, declaring the ward seat vacant. This would necessitate a by-election,’ Mosery said.
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