Kenny Kunene hits back: 'Haters use my past for their own selfish and negative agendas'

16 May 2023 - 07:56
By Unathi Nkanjeni
Acting Johannesburg mayor Kenny Kunene. File photo
Image: File/ Freddy Mavunda Acting Johannesburg mayor Kenny Kunene. File photo

Kenny Kunene has hit back at criticism over his appointment as acting Johannesburg mayor, saying “haters” are using his past for “selfish and negative agendas”. 

The Patriotic Alliance (PA) deputy leader and Johannesburg's transport MMC was appointed acting mayor until Monday while Kabelo Gwamanda is away. 

Kunene's appointment drew mixed reaction on social media, with many, including EFF leader Julius Malema, bringing up the ex-convict's controversial past. 

Malema said: “Our people even elected a bantiti [convict] to get into the council. Once that bantiti is elected to be in council, he meets the requirement of being the mayor. That's why that ex-convict is an acting mayor.”

Speaking on 702, Kunene said it was normal for the mayor to appoint an acting mayor if they are away for a weekend, saying the council must continue to operate.

He said as someone with a criminal history, he understood “a person’s past is their past”.

“I went to prison. I committed crimes. I was a gangster. I came back and South Africans embraced me. 

“They forgave me, except for the haters who want to use my past for their own selfish and negative agendas. That is what is happening with the mayor,” said Kunene. 

As acting mayor, Kunene spent his days focusing on hijacked buildings in the city. 

He joined the MMCs of public safety and human settlements when they visited the reportedly hijacked Casa Mia building in Berea and told residents that paying rent to anyone other than the Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco) was illegal. 

He urged community members not to protect the hijackers. 

“I want to finish this thing of syndicates who are collecting rentals. You don't want to tell us who you pay your rent [to]. No-one owns a room here. These belong to Joshco but these satans take money from you and you don't tell us who they are so we can arrest them,” Kunene said

"[On Monday] at 2pm, we will return with the health and social development department. The unemployed and those with children will be given temporary shelter.”

Speaking to Newzroom Afrika on Monday, Kunene indicated his focus would be on hijacked buildings. 

He expressed his concern at the state of hijacked buildings in the city, saying some even had dump sites inside them. 

He added the buildings were uninhabitable and many had been declared unsafe by emergency workers. Others, were crime hotspots as residents in neighbouring buildings claimed they were victims of robberies and their attackers fled into the buildings. 

“We have to act and make sure the safety of the people comes first. The city also suffers a loss of revenue because of hijacked buildings,” said Kunene. 


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