Heard the one about the municipality that bought laptops from a petrol station?

2014-06-18 16:57

A Limpopo municipality has procured laptops from a filling station registered in the name of a councillor’s son while another has paid a company R700 000 for recording a single disciplinary session.

This is the tip of the iceberg, according to a series of allegations made by the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) against Limpopo municipalities.

These include nepotism, fraud, corruption and maladministration.

The union’s provincial secretary, Simon Mathe, said officials and deployees were doing wrong with impunity and that it was difficult for ANC leaders in Limpopo to intervene and recall party deployees because they “had contracts in those municipalities”.

Samwu said while national government was able to intervene and had placed half of the Limpopo government under administration more than two years ago, municipalities in the province “have become milking cows for corrupt politicians and officials”.

“We want to say to [Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs] MEC Makoma Makhurupetje that corruption and maladministration have shifted in a large scale from the provincial government to municipalities. We are therefore calling on MEC Makhurupetje to be Ms Fix-it and the Iron Lady if she is to succeed in turning local government around,” the union said today.

It continued to paint a dismal picture of the state of several municipalities in the province.

Mathe claimed that the Greater Tzaneen Municipality acquired laptops from a fuel station which, according to company registration records, cannot supply computers.

“A filling station is supposed to supply fuel but it has supplied laptops to this municipality. The filling station, which is owned by an 18-year-old son of [a councillor] is a business, which also appears in the municipality’s indigent register; very strange for a business,” Mathe said. “The Greater Tubatse Municipality has paid one company R700 000 to record one session of a disciplinary hearing.”

The union also claimed that Greater Tzaneen had spent R14 million on law firms to defend the council in courts.

It also claimed that Greater Tubatse had re-employed a former employee who was convicted of theft and corruption. He was allegedly employed again upon getting parole.

Mathe said the person was appointed as a manager.

“We are therefore calling for his immediate removal as we cannot harbour criminals in our municipalities and our trade unions. [As a result Samwu is] terminating his membership with immediate effect,” Mathe said.

Meanwhile, Samwu has called on Luthuli House to intervene in the troubled Mogalakwena municipality saying “it would seem the ANC in Limpopo has failed in that regard”.

Mogalakwena has been in the news amid allegations of maladministration and internal squabbles that led to its former mayor, Tlhalefi Mashamaite, acquiring 27 bodyguards through the council. Municipal manager William Kekana also got two bodyguards to protect himself against the mayor’s small army.

As troubles escalated in Mogalakwena, the Coghsta in Limpopo stepped in and placed the municipality under administration. This was challenged in court by Mogalakwena, which refused to accept the intervention and allegedly locked the administrator out of the council offices. The matter is still in court.

Samwu in Limpopo was seemingly blaming the ANC for Mogalakwena’s troubles. “The ANC seems to be fighting with itself in Mogalakwena. It is like the other structure of the ANC takes certain decisions, which are again vetoed by the other structure of the same party. The ruling party has never really come out clear on how it envisaged resolving the crisis in Mogalakwena,” Mathe said.

» City Press has approached the above-mentioned municipalities for comment and will update this report as soon as it becomes available.

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