Mayor faces assault charges

“I will kill you if I have to.”

The Bulletin News
Executive Mayor Thandi Ngxonono

On the morning of Wednesday 20 June, Jane Gwebu, a municipal official, laid charges against Councillor Thandi Ngxonono, GMM’s executive mayor. In tears, Gwebu retold the story of her assault at the mayor’s hands.
“She sent her secretary to call me to her office, where she ordered me to sit down,” Gwebu said. Gwebu continued to say that the mayor was “hot-headed” and swore aAt her, calling her derogatory names and even slapping Ms Gwebu.
“She told me that she is the mayor whether I like it or not and she is tired of me going around and talking about her to our other colleagues,” Gwebu said.
According to Gwebu, the councillor accused her of talking about her to their co-workers, and in this version of events, the nature of the incident appears quite personal. She also reported that Councillor Ngxonono threatened her when she said “I will kill you if I have to.”
The councillor distanced herself from the claims, saying she did not lay hands on Gwebu. “It is unfortunate that the said official views reprimanding as assault,” Ngxonono said in a press release regarding the matter. She maintained that she had summoned Gwebu to reprimand her about her “unjust behaviour towards her official duties as an official of the municipality”.
In a brief interview, the mayor explained that she had summoned Gwebu to discuss her neglect of her work duties. Councillor Ngxonono said that this behaviour was affecting the overall functionality of the workplace, and she believed that it needed to be corrected. The councillor also stated that Gwebu’s response to the reprimand was disrespectful and that she was not open to this correction at all.
The mayor concluded her press statement by saying that she is eagerly awaiting for the law to take its own course.
When the news hit the public, social media was abuzz with comments on Councillor Ngxonono’s character.
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One user said that “she is well known of being a bully”, while others said that she has always had a temper, as far back as her days as a teacher at KI Twala Secondary school, where she allegedly used to hit her students. The general attitude of the public indicated that readers were not at all surprised.
The DA released a media statement of its own, condemning the alleged actions of the councillor. “The DA questions the capacity in which the executive was apparently reprimanding the official, as the acting Municipal Manager, Mr Thisah Mhlanga, was appointed by the council to oversee duties that regard officials and management of the municipality. What is he doing all day, if the executive mayor must carry out his duties?” the statement read.
On this basis, the DA argued that the mayor was either acting out of her capacity, or “brought her political squabbles into her office when she should have been focusing on serving the people of Govan Mbeki.”
In their media statement, SAPROMO expressed similar sentiments: “It is said that the mayor was involved with employees, which she shouldn’t have done from the first place. She is not an administrator, but a political head. It is not for her to reprimand employees as they are not reporting to her,” the statement read.
The statement further went on to suggest that the mayor be suspended for the time being and that in the meantime, “an acting mayor be appointed to give Ngxonono some time to deal with the court case.”
The mayor neither confirmed nor denied the legal charges against her. She simply maintained that the alleged assault did not take place, and that the matter was not as serious as Gwebu had made it out to be.
At the time of going to press, a statement from the police had not yet been received.


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