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Premier, ANC tight-lipped on “rougue” COGTA MEC

Premier Mtshweni-Tsipane, ANC fails to respond as “trusted” MEC appears in court on public violence and malicious damage to property.

Mpumalanga premier has failed to comment, and the ANC is unaware of the crimes allegedly committed by an old rogue MEC and PEC member.

Mandla Msibi’s court appearance at the Kanyamazane periodical court last week was a low-key affair, but the charges that he faces are very serious.

Spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority in Mpumalanga, Monica Nyuswa, confirmed Msibi’s court appearance and his charges.

“He appeared on the 14 of August 2019 with Mxolisi Gama Mathebula and Sergeant Nkosi on charges of public violence, malicious damage to property and intimidation.

“In (another) case he appeared with Bongani Mathebula, Mxolisi Gama, Nkululeko Maseko on charges of malicious damage to property and contravention of Section 11(1)(b)of intimidation Act 72 of 1982.

“In (another) case he appeared with Mxolisi Gama and Bongani Mathebula on charges of malicious damage to property and contravention of Section 11(1)(b) of intimidation act 72of 1983,” said Nyuswa.

He is a member of the executive council in premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane’s executive council responsible for co-operative governance and traditional affairs and a provincial executive committee member of the governing ANC.

Mtshweni-Tsipane’s spokesperson, Sibongile Mkani-Mpolweni, ignored telephone calls and Whatsapp messages even though it shows that she had read the messages.

Last year Msibi was campaigning to be the next provincial chairperson of the governing African National Congress, which means that if the ANC in the province had not prevented a special provincial general council from taking place, and Msibi had succeeded, he could have been the premier of the Mpumalanga province.

ANC’s spokesperson, Sasekani Manzini, onthe other hand, says the PEC is unaware of Msibi’s court appearances, this was despite Msibi’s escapades being flashed on a front-page of a widely read leading national Sunday newspaper.

Manzini is also an MEC, entitling her to free Sunday newspapers, delivered at the comforts of the homes of politicians on Sunday mornings.

The newspaper claimed that Msibi was facing 10 cases which include attempted murder.

“The ANC in Mpumalanga is not aware of any of it’s (sic) PEC members that are appearing in a court of law for any matter, and will do the due diligence of verifying and finding out details, now that the matter has been brought to the attention of the PEC,” she said.

Msibi was once a fierce critic of deputy president David Mabuza and also part of the people who waged battles, sometimes violent, with Mabuza’s supporters.

They, however, smoked a peace pipe just before the 2016 local government elections.

After the 2016 local government elections he was elected as the Speaker of the Mbombela local municipality.

Msibi is also a provincial executive committee member of the ANC. He was never elected to the position, but Mabuza merely handpicked and promoted him into the ANC’s PEC and as the head of the ANC’s election campaign manager for the 2019 general elections.

When Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane was appointed as Mpumalanga premier, she followed in Mabuza’s footsteps and appointed Msibi as MEC for Cogta in the provincial executive council.

But before his meteoric rise to the top, Msibi had a history which, if he were a mere plebeian, he could have easily been imprisoned for.

He was always at the forefront of many a protest, which were often violent in the Pienaar area.

When Economic Freedom Fighters leader, Julius Malema, visited Pienaar ahead of the 2016 local government elections, Msibi and his troops were there to disrupt the event. Unconfirmed reports indicate that he suffered severe injuries after police fired rubber bullets and teargas at them.

It was the violent nature of some of the protests that forced Mabuza to visit Msibi’s backyard, Pienaar township, ahead of the local government elections to seek a “political solution” by bringing Msibi into the mainstream political fold.

Since then, they became bosom buddies.

When Mabuza sued politician-turned businessman, Mathews Phosa, for defamation in 2017, Msibi led his red-clad troops who were protesting and insulting Phosa outside the Pretoria high court.

Mabuza, however, had to make some concessions to win Msibi over. He took his MECs and HODs to Pienaar to ensure that Msibi and his group benefitted from government tenders for any projects in Pienaar township, but this also came at a huge cost.

An official of the department of public works and transport, who was also a resident of Pienaar and an ANC deputy chairperson, Zane Phelembe, was shot dead after he had objected to some of the companies that benefited from the government tenders on the grounds that they were not from Pienaar.

The tenders also led to a breakdown of the relationship between Msibi and his long-time comrade, Themba Bulunga. The tensions between the two led to even more violent clashes.

To date, Bulunga has opened at least seven criminal cases against Msibi, however, all cases seemed to disappear when Mabuza was still premier, but when Mabuza left the province in the beginning of 2018 to assume his position as the country’s deputy president, Msibi’s luck seemed to run out. He was finally arrested, following yet another violent attack on community members and Bulunga.

ANC Councillor, Themba Bulunga , has reported more than 7 cases, but none have succeeded.

Bulunga, who is also a councillor in Ward 26 in Mbombela, had been trying to set up a Ward Committee since 2016. He accused Msibi of preventing him from doing so when he was still the speaker at the municipality.

Ealier this year, a meeting by South African Communist Party chairperson, Sipho Siwela, who replaced Msibi as Speaker, was disrupted by people believed to be from a ward where Msibi resides.

Msibi will be appearing in court in October this year.

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