The mayor, the municipal boss and their 29 bodyguards

2014-02-23 10:00

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A municipal manager in Limpopo says he had no choice but to hire two bodyguards with taxpayers’ money – because he felt threatened by the mayor’s “27 bodyguards”.

The battle between Mogalakwena mayor Tlhalefi Mashamaite and municipal manager William Kekana features in a report by forensic auditors KPMG, which is due to be tabled before council soon.

Kekana told City Press the council felt his life was in danger after Mashamaite’s bodyguards prevented him from entering the municipal offices last year.

“Council said I must then acquire security to make sure I was not prevented from going to work.”

Kekana was on special leave at the time after issues had been raised about his contract. He insists he was sidelined because he was asking tough questions about corruption and mismanagement.

After he got two bodyguards, he claimed, Mashamaite increased his personal security.

“We were faced with a life threatening situation. There was a time my two bodyguards were confronted by 27 of mayor’s bodyguards, some of them in black suits and armed with semi-automatic rifles. It was really bad,” Kekana said.

Kekana said he still had two bodyguards and that the mayor had reduced his guards.

Personal protection may be the least of Mashamaite’s worries when the KPMG report is tabled.

In the report, it is revealed that Mashamaite allegedly spent more than R1?million on his personal guards.

It is also alleged by the auditors that during the three months Kekana was on special leave, Mashamaite ordered 12?000 T-shirts in four separate orders – at a cost of R838?000 – without following proper procedures.

The T-shirts were to be handed out at “outreach gatherings” hosted by the mayor, and were ordered despite an order by Treasury that public money not be spent on non-essentials – including T-shirts.

Mogalakwena took a resolution in May last year to follow Treasury’s instructions, saying there should be “no printing and procuring of paraphernalia like caps and T-shirts”.

Mashamaite ordered the first batch of T-shirts, KPMG found, for an event in August last year.

Mashamaite refused to speak to the City Press, citing legalities around the report because it had not yet been tabled.

In the report, it is recommended that criminal charges be laid for all cases of unauthorised and wasteful expenditure.

Mashamaite is already in trouble with the law: police spokesperson Colonel Ronel Otto said the mayor was being investigated on fraud charges by the commercial crimes unit.

Limpopo’s cooperative governance and human settlements spokesperson Motupa Selomo said their position was that “whoever is guilty must face consequences”.

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