Full municipal control to man who spent R20m on bodyguards

2014-10-09 12:09

Mpumalanga’s cabinet has extended the contract of the Emalahleni administrator and given him total control of the municipality even though he splurged millions on bodyguards.

Administrator Theo van Vuuren’s contract will now run until March next year.

All the powers of the executive mayor, Salome Sithole, and the mayoral committee have been delegated to Van Vuuren, which means he has taken over the municipality.

Van Vuuren’s hiring of more than 20 bodyguards without following tender procedures in 2013 to protect him and senior managers angered the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and it accused him of being corrupt.

The bodyguards were hired after Samwu members marched former municipal manager, George Mthimunye, out of the council building on February 14 2013, because they believed he was corrupt.

The bodyguards cost the municipality an arm and a leg. City Press has seen financial statements showing that Guardian Group charged Emalahleni R20.3?million from February 28 2013 to May 21 this year.

Read: Man sent in to fix municipality spends R20m on bodyguards

Mpumalanga government spokesperson Zibonele Mncwango said Van Vuuren’s contract had to be extended because the municipality was not yet ready to be placed back in the hands of the council.

“Cabinet felt that there are lots of things that need to be tightened up and the administrator’s powers were therefore increased so that in six months’ time the municipality can be handed back to council,” Mncwango said.

Emalahleni was put under administration to improve its finance management and to deal with the area’s mushrooming informal settlements as well as water, sanitation and electricity backlogs.

Samwu alleged that the cabinet took Sithole’s powers because she had launched an investigation into corruption, including the hiring of the bodyguards.

“The cabinet surprised us. We thought the mayor’s investigation would expose all the wrongs the administrator has been doing,” the union’s Emalahleni chairperson Vusi Pilson said.

Municipal spokesperson, Lebohang Mofokeng, said that the council had requested both Sithole and Van Vuuren to investigate the high level of overtime expenditure and possible irregularities regarding purchases for a specific month.

“There are a number of inaccuracies contained in the [Samwu] statement. A team was appointed to conduct the investigation … the administrator will continue with the finalisation of this process and will report back to the council on this matter,” said Mofokeng.

Mncwango said that the Bushbuckridge municipality had been handed back to its council after being placed under administration 18 months ago.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.