Kokstad reeling after cashier scandal

2014-05-28 00:00

WHILE reports of employees who had plundered the coffers of the Greater Kokstad Municipality are surfacing, residents there are wondering if the council’s new quick fix for potholes stemmed from the municipality’s latest financial woes.

The municipality is under severe financial stress, which continues to intensify day-by-day despite belt-tightening strategies.

Now council workers have resorted to filling the potholes in the town’s streets with soil.

The Greater Kokstad Municipality has been facing accusations of gross maladministration, bankruptcy and poor financial management.

Community structures like the Ratepayers Association and local Chamber of Commerce protested last month, calling for the municipality to be taken over by provincial government.

A few months back, Mayor Nosisa Jojozi admitted they were facing tight cash flows.

Now, reports are that three cashiers have reportedly been fired after allegedly embezzling a huge amount of money and another allegedly resigned after auditors found she had allegedly defrauded the municipality of close to R1 million.

Lennox Mabaso, the provincial Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs spokesperson, would not comment on rumours that the municipality will be placed under section 139.

He said the municipality is under close scrutiny by MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube. “We are busy doing assessments and analysis on the state of the municipality’s performance and financial status,” said Mabaso.

Responding to questions via e-mail, Greater Kokstad municipal spokesperson Sabelo Ncwane said they cannot confirm how much money has been embezzled or who was responsible for the losses as the matter was under investigation.

“It is therefore still an untested allegation that one municipal employee resigned immediately after the municipality was defrauded of R850 000. Appropriate action will be taken … however, the municipality has opened a criminal case in connection with those allegations,” said Ncwane.

He said although the municipality is experiencing a tight cash flow, it is still providing basic service delivery so there was no crisis.

On the patching of potholes with red soil, he said this was a temporary measure due to logistical challenges over the purchasing of asphalt, but that has been sorted out and potholes will be attended to.

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