15 April 2024 | 11:34 AM

Murky origins of politician’s Merc raises eyebrows

Key Takeaways

Top North West ANC politician Tokkie Mataboge faces controversy as questions are raised about how he acquired a C-Class Mercedes-Benz that belongs to the former mayor of the Rustenburg municipality, Matthew Wolmarans, who has been convicted of murder.

Mataboge is the secretary of the ANC Bojanala region, comprising the five ANC-governed municipalities of Kgetlengrivier, Moses Kotane, Moretele, Madibeng and Rustenburg.

Rumours in political circles in the region suggest Wolmarans bought the vehicle last year and gave it to Mataboge as a “gift” to ensure his political support, especially during his murder trial in the Rustenburg High Court. Mataboge is accused of failing to declare his gift to the ANC as per the party’s general practice.

The Mail & Guardian has ascertained that the 2011 silver Mercedes was bought in Wolmarans’s name at the Maemo Motors dealership in Rustenburg on July 19 last year and financed by Absa Bank. Its retail price is said to be between R390 000 and R450 000.

Wolmarans is serving a 20-year sentence in the Rooigrond prison outside Mahikeng for the killing of corruption whistle-blower Moses Phakoe after he was found guilty on July 16.

Mataboge has significant influence over the deployment of councillors to municipalities in the region. Local sources, who asked not to be named, allege that Wolmarans expected him to deploy councillors perceived to be “in the same clique as his so that they don’t get to question his controversial decisions”.

Two regional executive members claimed that Mataboge exerted undue influence in ensuring the appointment of Wolmarans as speaker of the municipality, a position he held after he was removed as mayor. The vehicle’s purchase, they claimed, was Wolmarans’ “payback” to him.

The ANC national executive committee declined Mataboge’s initial proposal to reappoint Wolmarans as mayor for a second term, because it deemed the murder charges against him too serious.

It is rumoured that Mataboge has been driving the car since the day it was purchased and that he often uses it to attend ANC meetings. On Tuesday this week, he was spotted in the vehicle at the ANC caucus in Moses Kotane municipality.

Mataboge was allegedly instrumental in mobilising the ANC supporters who gathered outside the Rustenburg High Court during Wolmarans’s murder trial. Outside the court, pro-Wolmarans supporters chanted slogans claiming he was innocent. They have been accused of making death threats to those symphathising with Phakoe’s family.

“During Wolmarans’s court case, Tokkie made sure that those in attendance signed a register to record their presence, because they were promised jobs in the municipality on the conclusion of the case. We can check the SABC footage — that incident was captured,” said a former municipality employee.

According to one ANC member, Mataboge, a close political ally of North West ANC chairperson Supra Mahumapelo, was given the car to assist in safeguarding Wolmarans’s business interests in the region.

Phakoe was shot dead on March 14 2009 in the driveway of his home in Rustenburg Noord, two days after he handed over a dossier containing corruption allegations to the late minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, Sicelo Shiceka.

The dossier bore allegations linking Wolmarans to corrupt activities in the Rustenburg municipality. Wolmarans and his driver, Enoch Matshaba, were the prime suspects for Phakoe’s murder. Both were found guilty and Matshaba was handed a sentence of life imprisonment for having pulled the trigger.
Mataboge is a controversial political figure. He was previously accused of defrauding the ANC of thousands of rands destined to pay election volunteers. The M&G spoke to one of the ward councillors who claimed Mataboge had faked their signatures to receive stipends on their behalf.

Mataboge is also facing sexual assault charges in the Rustenburg Magistrate’s Court. He is related to Amos Mataboge, who was initially charged with Phakoe’s murder, but the case against him was subsequently withdrawn owing to insufficient evidence.

Approached for comment, Wolmarans’s wife Lillian said: “Do you really need to ask me about that? Whatever happens in the marriage I have to know because we are married in community of property?”

She could not say why the vehicle was given to Mataboge, suggesting that the M&G speak to him or Wolmarans. “Why can’t you get hold of Wolmarans and talk to him about it? Or is it because he is in prison? Talk to Wolmarans and talk to Tokkie.”

Bojanala regional ANC spokesperson Obakeng Malao said: “What I can say is that he has never declared it to the ANC structure as a gift. However, I can’t confirm whether he got it from Wolmarans, except to say that is what I have heard.”
Mataboge did not respond to detailed questions sent to him and ignored calls and a message to remind him to respond.

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Before joining the amaBhungane team in 2017, Micah was the national coordinator for media freedom and diversity at the Right2Know Campaign. He holds a Masters in African Studies from Oxford University and a BA Honours in History from Wits University.

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