Madibeng’s missing two poles cost R3m

2013-04-21 14:02

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While residents live in sewage, municipal report reads like farce.

Missing: two wooden poles, which a struggling North West municipality says cost it R3.05?million.

The pricy poles are listed on the Madibeng Municipality’s asset register, but Auditor-General Terence Nombembe and his team could not find them when auditing the municipality last year.

Madibeng lies just outside Pretoria and includes Brits.

The poles – the kind used to link power lines to each other – were allegedly erected in Oukasie, a township in Brits.

In the streets of Oukasie, there are mounds of rubbish and puddles of sewage.

There are poles too, though it’s not clear which two might be the subject of the Auditor-General’s consternation.

The asset register records the cost of an 11m pole as R1.2?million. Madibeng forked out R1.85 million for a 9m pole.

A leading electricity industry source said a 9m wooden pole should cost R550.

The average price for an 11m pole, the source said, was R1?000.

The poles are just two items on the asset register that could not be located by auditors, according to the AG’s interim management report.

The total value of items missing, or unaccounted for by the Madibeng Municipality, is R1?billion.

Other items are “land for park”, which cost R1.1?million; a visitors’ chair with a price tag of R828; and an office and toilet worth nearly R1?million.

All these details are contained in an interim management report, dated June 2012.

The municipality initially told City Press it did not have a full copy of the report.

Then it said the figures didn’t relate to just two poles, but rather referred to all the poles purchased for an electrification project.

But the report refers specifically to just the two poles. Municipal spokesperson Lebogang Tsogang said: “It should be noted that the developments happening in the Oukasie area included aerial electrification with a use of a number of wooden poles.

“The quantities of wooden poles accumulated from one phase to the other, which ultimately formed an asset base for the municipality.”

Last year, Madibeng Municipality went to court asking not to be placed under administration by government.

Richard Baloyi, the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, ordered an investigation into allegations of maladministration, fraud and corruption within Madibeng.

Nghamula Nkuna, a spokesperson for Baloyi’s ministry, said: “If the council fails to recover the funds, or no steps are taken, they will have failed to govern

and will be placed under administration.”

Pole prices

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