Johannesburg – Former Joburg Mayor Dr. Mpho Phalatse is not going to apologise for making public allegations of scamming levelled at the City’s new mayor, Kabelo Gwamanda, – instead she says she is assisting the growing number of people who say they were swindled to get justice.
The new mayor, who was only elected last Friday, is an Al Jama-ah Councillor and his party had asked Dr. Phalatse to apologise for making the scamming allegations public.
Al Jama-ah has since asked the Speaker to look into the matter with a view to establishing the effect of the scamming allegations on Gwamanda’s suitability to be mayor and also establish if Dr. Phalatse has violated the new mayor’s rights.
When the allegations surfaced on Saturday Dr. Phalatse asked Gwamanda to respond “within 48 hours” but the new mayor remained mum.
Dr. Phalatse has since revealed that more people have come forward with evidence of how they were ripped off by “iThemba Lama Africa” investment/funeral company that was allegedly run by Gwamanda and his partner, only identified as Mduduzi.
Speaking to SABC NEWS on Tuesday, Dr. Phalatse explained that complainants from Protea North and Protea South in Soweto had requested her help after they said they were fleeced by “iThemba Lama Africa”.
Dr. Phalatse said: “I have seen some of the documentation pertaining to their transaction with the scheme and I am convinced that there is a case to be answered”.
She added: “And I will do everything in my power to support those who are looking for justice to do so”.
One woman showed her documents that prove that she initially invested R1 000 dollars in the investment scheme and thereafter contributed R500 every month for the funeral policy.
Dr. Phalatse said the woman was meant to get R25 000 from her investment.
However, the woman complained that she only got R4 000, which she said was handed to her in cash at a park by Gwamanda and his partner with no documentation.
Other complainants say they never got any money back and the funeral policies were nonexistent when they tried to claim.
Asked how many people say they were swindled by “iThemba Lama Africa”, Dr. Phalatse said the alleged scam “sounds quite widespread”.
Some of the complainants are prison warders, businesspeople, and burial societies as a club.
Dr. Phalatse said the police were already aware of the allegations and a complaint would be laid before the end of this week.
She said a meeting with the complainants had been planned for today to assess their readiness to lay a complaint – as a group – with the police.
The former mayor denied her actions were motivated by sour grapes after losing the election for mayor to Gwamanda.
Although Gwamanda remains mum on the matter, his Al Jama-ah party insists he was vetted and there were no adverse findings against him.
Al Jama-ah demanded that within 48 hours, the DA must provide evidence for its accusations that Gwamanda may have scammed members of the public.
Meanwhile, EWN reports that the Joburg mayor matter spilled over to Parliament, in Cape Town
Al Jama-ah leader Ganief Hendricks was removed from the National Assembly chamber on Wednesday after hurling “profanities,” and calling the DA a terrorist party during the international relations budget debate.