By Bahle Gama
Benedict Bennett says that people who won as Councilors in the Local Government Elections should highly consider that they are in office for service delivery and not politics.
Bennett was responding to a query regarding a letter of complaint addressed to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development where he was stating his observations on how the election process went at Ward 2 where he was running for Councillorship.
The contents of the letter are known to this publication and will not be stated because they also involve allegations towards and about several individuals.
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Acting Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry Makhosi Simelane confirmed receipt of the letter and stated that he was yet to have a face-to-face conversation with Bennett with the intent to put the matter to bed.
“I received the letter and responded to him with the intent to set an appointment whereby we shall sit down and would like to hear his remedy to the situation. For now, there is not much to say on the matter as we are yet to conclude it” said Simelane.
Bennett stated that there is not much money made by being in a position as a Councilor and people should not be misled or even allow themselves to be used for political purposes.
“I noted that people are actually in there for financial and political gains when in actual fact being a Councilor is about serving the people residing in the town are elected in. One should not forget that there is ratepayers’ money being used in delivering the services needed in these towns,” he said.
He stated that his reason for writing the letter was to follow up with the Ministry regarding the reports received during and post the elections.
“We should not forget that the Minister took accountability and apologized to the nation for the glitches that occurred during the election. However, the unfortunate part is that he only did so on the issues he was told about, and the truth is that not everything was reported,” he said.
He further stated that some returning officers, when confronted on certain conduct at the polling stations, responded that whoever has a grievance should take the matter to court.
“Instead of taking accountability for their mistakes and calling people to order, they are threatening people with the court, because they know it is very costly. The Councilor position is not that big for one to try and bankrupt themselves in a court matter. Not everyone can decide to go to court and those that did can afford it and let’s not forget that one of them is an attorney, the odds are in their favour, financially” he said.
According to Bennett, in different Wards around Mbabane, some reported matters of fraud during the elections and were not tended to, instead were told to go to court.
“It is clear that these people do not understand the purpose of Local Government Elections, and I think it is only fair that the complaints are looked into before people are sworn in and those with the wrong intentions misuse rate payers’ money,” he added.