MEC to appoint team to investigate Mbombela fraud

2013-09-13 10:04

Mpumalanga cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC Simon Skhosana has decided to appoint an investigation team to look into fraud, corruption and malpractices at Mbombela municipality.

Skhosana is expected to make the announcement during a special council meeting scheduled to take place at 11am today.

The investigation comes after the ANC’s Ehlanzeni region tried to put pressure on municipal manager Xolani Mzobe to resign – but failed to convince most of its councillors to take a resolution because no evidence was put forward.

Cogta spokesperson Simphiwe Kunene said he could only comment about this matter this afternoon.

City Press has, however, obtained a notice that Skhosana wrote to the Mbombela municipality informing them of his decision.

“I hereby wish to inform you that I will be designating an investigation team as empowered by section 106(1)(b) of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act ... to investigate allegations of fraud, corruption and any other serious malpractices against the affairs of the Mbombela Local Municipality,” the note reads.

Skhosana indicated that he would be investigating procurement irregularities, irregular appointment of service providers and their payments in relation to the Africa Cup of Nations tournament as well as the general financial state of the municipality.

Other matters to be investigated, according to the note, include:

» The confirmation of Mzobe’s appointment, after probation, without a council resolution;

» Nonfunctionality of the Troika (the mayor, speaker and chief whip) and the mayoral committee; and

» Nonimplementation of council resolutions, low expenditure on municipal infrastructure grants, failure to deliver projects within budget and time frames, and failure to implement recommendations of a probe into pension fraud.

It is not clear if Mzobe’s dismissal will form part of the meeting this morning. He has three years and nine months before his five-year contract expires.

Mzobe’s woes emanate from clashes he had with Cogta head David Mahlobo and Mpumalanga director-general Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize. So tense is the relationship, Mzobe was ordered to leave a meeting between the province and 21 municipalities three weeks ago.

Councillors, who spoke to City Press on condition of anonymity, said that Mbombela was being targeted because of a political fallout between Mayor Cathy Dlamini and ANC regional leaders.

They argued that municipalities like Nkomazi (Malalane) and Thaba Chweu (Lydenburg) got disclaimers from the Auditor-General but no action was taken against them.

Opposition parties – the Democratic Alliance and Congress of the People – have also accused Premier David Mabuza of being “selective” and implementing “half-baked” interventions after he only appointed teams to intervene in Msukaligwa (Ermelo) and Govan Mbeki (Secunda) two weeks ago and left the other worst performers.

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