KZN ANC mayor charged with assault ’won’t step aside’
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Durban - Despite the ANC’s step aside regulations making it clear that any member who has been criminally charged should step aside, a regional chairperson of the ANC in the eMalahleni region in northern KwaZulu-Natal says he will stay put in his mayoral position, even after he was charged with assault.
Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba was on Monday slapped with an assault charge emanating from an incident more than a year ago around Newcastle, where he is the mayor.
Mahlaba is one of the few staunch and open KZN supporters of ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Ahead of the Nasrec conference in 2017, he was able to sway the region away from the province, which supported Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and backed Ramaphosa, who eventually won the contest.
Mahlaba is accused of assaulting a private installer of fibre optic while the man was doing his work more than a year ago.
It is alleged that on September 3, 2020, Mahlaba, who was being driven by his bodyguards, assaulted the man, who has not been named, when he spoke back to the mayor after Mahlaba asked why they were continuing to install fibre when they had been told to stop, because local residents complained that the work was disrupting water and electricity services and the municipality had instructed them to halt their work.
Mahlaba allegedly assaulted the worker, assisted by his bodyguards, who have also been charged with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, malicious damage to property and theft, and told to return to court on August 26.
After Independent Media asked Mahlaba about the arrest and whether he was going to step aside, his spokesperson, Mlungisi Khumalo, denied that his boss had been arrested; but he had been asked to present himself in court.
“The Newcastle Municipality would like to categorically state that Newcastle Mayor Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba was not arrested, but was summoned to present himself to court over an allegation which was made against him. As a law-abiding citizen, the mayor swiftly presented himself in court yesterday (July 26, 2021).
“The mayor also views the allegation as malicious, frivolous and without substance.
“He also looks forward to going to court to clear his name, so that he can ultimately distance himself from the said allegation. In the interim, Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba continues to serve the residents of Newcastle and pleads with people to allow the law to take its course,” Khumalo said in a statement.
In September 2019, Mahlaba was shown in a widely circulated video engaging in a fist fight with municipal workers who were striking over delays in the payment of their overtime money. During the scuffle, he was hit with a brick, and his bodyguards joined the fight. They were later separated.