Madonsela reveals findings in Nala probe

2013-07-25 17:15
Thuli Madonsela (Picture: Volksblad)

Thuli Madonsela (Picture: Volksblad)

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Pretoria - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has made several findings of misconduct against the former manager and other officials of the Free State's Nala municipality.

"The Nala administration caused the state to lose an enormous amount of money resulting in mass action by the community," she said in a report released in Pretoria on Thursday.

Her investigation followed a request by residents, who complained about a lack of service delivery.

Madonsela found that:

- A R70m flush toilet system was not connected even though the contractor had been paid, which she declared fruitless, wasteful expenditure, and financial misconduct;

- A bucket system supposed to work in its place was dysfunctional, leading to sewage being spilled "all over the place", which was against the right to healthy and safe services;

- There were unfinished houses in Maranatha, but that this was the domain of the human settlements department. A total of R2.8m had been paid to the contractor by the Free State government to complete the project. The Special Investigating Unit (SIU)was currently probing the contractor to make sure the money was recovered;

- The Mabana School had a sewage spillage problem, but action the education department had taken action;

- A report by KPMG detailing problems in the municipality was not tabled timeously in council after it was received in 2010. In 2011, only the executive summary was tabled, which meant the municipality did not have enough information to work on;

- There was "manipulation of supply chain processes" and "abuse of process";

- Poor communication between the mayor and municipality culminated in protests;

- A sewage plant was incomplete and non-operational because of maladministration;

- An incomplete park did in fact exist as alleged. The land was given to the municipality by the agriculture and forestry department, and it was up to residents to plant and maintain trees. However, this had not been communicated to locals, which constituted maladministration;

- A community hall was incomplete. The tender specifications had changed and did not fit the budget. The human settlements department had stepped in to allocate money for this;

- Municipal manager Chris Mokomela was paid a R90 000 bonus as alleged, but this was the result of a computer capturing error, and he proved he repaid the money;

- R2.8m was spent implementing the KPMG report, which residents had called for.

Most of the findings were violations of the Municipal Finance Management Act and the Constitution.

Madonsela said that during the investigation, the departments of co-operative governance and human settlements had put measures in place to rectify matters.

She recommended that the wasteful and fruitless expenditure be recovered, that the lack of capacity with project management be addressed, and that supply chain managers and bid committee members be properly trained.

Erika Celliers, counsel for the protector's office, said former municipal manager David Shongwe was no longer employed by any municipality or government entity, and faced criminal charges.

Read more on:    thuli madonsela  |  bloemfontein

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