Assassination of Moss Phakoe

Start Date End Date
2009-03-15 2012-07-00
Moss Phakoe, an ANC councillor and whistleblower was assassinated by unknown person/s in Rustenburg.

A few days before his assassination Moss Phakoe, an ANC councillor in the Rustenburg municipality, submitted a dossier of allegations against office bearers and officials in the Bojanala District municipality to the then Minister of  Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs,    
Sicelo Shiceka. The dossier
was compiled by a special provincial task group consisting of intelligence
operatives set up by the ANC’s National Executive Committee  to deal specifically with internal conflict
and service delivery problems in the North West Province. Created and deployed
to the province in 2009, this task team, whose findings came out before the
murder of Phakoe, made ‘a devastating assessment of the state of governance in
the Rustenburg council’ and revealed ‘rampant acts of corruption ...
inappropriate handling of tender processes, shabby and undeclared interests in
such by council officials and or councillors’.
  The document showed that ‘criminals’, many of
whom worked for the council, benefitted from both small and large contracts
within the council’s directorates in which ‘officials are easily corrupted,
blackmailed or issued with unlawful instructions by their respective political
or criminal principals to award tenders in favour of their principals’
preferred bidders’

These were
the revelations that concerned Councillor Phakoe and motivated him to report
them to Minister Shiceka. Alleged corruption, for example, in the outsourcing
of the council properties, like the Rustenburg Kloof Holiday Resort and
Conference Centre, was only one of many such matters that concerned Phakoe in
his personal disclosures to the minister. The contract over the above-named
properties was one of the causes of ‘bitter rivalry’ between the municipal
councillors on the one hand, and the executive mayor who, at the time, was
Matthew Wolmarans. Phakoe’s report to the minister seems to have suggested that
Wolmarans, who chaired the committee that recommended the winning bidder, a
company called Omaramba, ‘had interests in the deal’, but this is an accusation
which he denied.
Phakoe’s report to the minister claimed that a
bidder that was considered the most eligible by an independent company which
had been appointed to evaluate all of the bids was not given the tender.
Instead, the winning company was rejected by Wolmarans, who then ‘recommended
Omaramba despite its lower score [rating]’. According to Phakoe’s report, ‘one
of the shareholders in Omaramba was Sylvia Moeng, Wolmarans’ sister-in-law,
although her shares were later distributed among other shareholders’.
Meanwhile, following internal
pressure from among the Rustenburg municipal councillors, Wolmarans was removed
from his position as mayor of Rustenburg.
But by September 2010, one year
after Phakoe’s murder, no arrests had been made and public pressure for police
action was mounting. among local ANC members and Trade Union officials

 Following sustained pressure, Matthew Wolmarans, two
Rustenburg councillors and a businessman, Oupa Mphomane, were arrested by the
police and accused of the murder of Moss Phakoe. After appearing in the
Rustenburg magistrate’s court a few times, the four accused remained in
Finally, on 17 July 2012, the
Rustenburg High Court found Wolmarans and his former bodyguard, Enoch Matshaba,
guilty of the murder of Phakoe and sentenced him to 20 years imprisonment and
Masthaba to a life term.
On appeal the North-West High Court in June
2014 set aside the convictions and sentences of both men, after a key state
witness recanted his evidence.
Wolmarans on his release threatened
to sue the state for wrongful arrest. Nobody has ever been convicted for the assassination.

Sources City Press 4 March 2012, Mail and Guardianonline 15 October 2011, Sowetan 18 July 2012, City Press 27 June 2014.    


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