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New Joburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda accused of funeral scam, DA going to SAPS

MAYOR MUST BE TRUSTED: Dr. Mpho Phalatse said the Democratic Alliance is going report to the police allegations that the new Joburg mayor, Kabelo Gwamanda, was involved in a funeral scam.

Johannesburg – Just a day into the job new mayor of Joburg Kabelo Gwamanda is facing allegations that he may have been part of a “funeral investment” scam.

An audio recording doing the rounds claims Gwamanda and his partner only identified as Mduduzi used to run an “investment and funeral scheme called ‘iThemba Lama Africa“. 

In the recording, a person claims “people were paying every month” until the pair – Gwamanda and Mduduzi – “disappeared with the money”.

Reacting to the allegations, losing mayoral candidate and former Johannesburg mayor, Dr Mpho Phalatse, on Saturday expressed her dismay.

“The People of Joburg deserve a mayor they can trust, not a swindler or a scammer,” said Dr. Phalatse.

Gwamanda was sworn in as mayor soon after he was elected on Friday.

Gwamanda swore that he “will be faithful to the Republic of South Africa and will obey, respect, and uphold the Constitution and all other laws of the republic.” 

Dr. Phalatse said: “It was, however, concerning that there has since been damning information circulating about Cllr Kabelo Gwamanda, which cast aspersions on whether he could be trusted with such responsibilities including overseeing the more than R70 billion budget of the City of Johannesburg.”

The former mayor who was ousted through a no-confidence vote added: “The allegations circulating on social media suggest that our newly elected Executive Mayor may have flouted the financial laws of this country, swindling and scamming members of the public. 

“‘It is alleged that Cllr Kabelo Gwamanda, through his entity ‘iThemba Lama Afrika‘, scammed innocent residents into investing in a funeral/investment scheme. 

“However, the investors were left hanging dry when it was time to claim their benefits. 

“It would be a tragedy for the 6 million citizens of Johannesburg to be subjected to such questionable and dubious leadership.”

Dr. Phalatse said it was for these reasons that her party the Democratic Alliance in Johannesburg “will be bringing these allegations to the attention of the South African Police Service for further investigation along with a victim of this scheme.” 

She said the DA believes that the mayor deserves an opportunity to clear his name if he is to be trusted by the public. 

“Hence, we suggest that the Executive Mayor must, in less than 48 hours, take the public into his confidence by holding a public media briefing to provide clarity and assure the public that he will not interfere with this investigation,” said Dr. Phalatse. 

“The people of Johannesburg deserve a mayor they can trust. They need reassurance that Cllr Gwamanda will live true to the letter and spirit of the oath that he signed and swore publicly.”

Mayor Gwamanda could not be immediately reached for comment by the time of going to press. However, in response to the allegations, which are yet to be proven, some local citizens are questioning its timing, among them is author and podcaster Penuel ‘The Black Pen’ Mlotshwa, who shared the tweet below right after the news came to light.

“The DA is seeming and sounding more and more like the ANC every day. They are only attacking Kabelo now that he’s mayor… but have not raised this before when he was serving in the running of Johannesburg,” – @GodPenuel Twitter.

While Johannesburg residents await to hear from the Mayor if the allegations are true or not, a quick search on Google of the organisation ‘iThemba Lama Afrika’ shows that it in fact exists/existed, with LinkedIn results coming on top listing Mduduzi Zondo, a name mentioned in the leaked audio, as its CFO.


*This article was originally published in www.bulbrushes.com.

Additional reporting by NOWinSA

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