77 Mbombela officials face suspension for corruption

2017-01-22 06:10


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The City of Mbombela is gearing up for a massive clean-up of corrupt officials who were involved in fruitless and irregular expenditure of R755 million over the past two financial years.

City manager Noko Seanego has handed out letters to 77 officials across several departments demanding they explain their role in various tender improprieties highlighted in reports by the Auditor-General, but no one has been suspended yet.

This unprecedented action, said a councillor and two officials, was sparked by complaints whistle-blowers lodged with the Mpumalanga department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs over massive corruption in the municipality.

ANC-led Mbombela follows the Tshwane and Johannesburg metros where DA mayors Solly Msimanga and Herman Mashaba have been digging up dirt allegedly left behind by previous ANC-led governments.

Msimanga revived the metro’s anti-corruption unit and laid charges based on forensic reports that the ANC did not follow up on.

Mashaba has done the same, suspending 15 municipal workers last week for fraud and corruption valued at R14.7m in the city’s licensing department.

Mbombela spokesperson Joseph Ngala said the letters were handed to all suspects, from junior to senior management.

“The officials have not been charged yet. The letters serve to solicit more information and give the officials a chance to defend themselves,” Ngala said.

“These letters seek to find out why, for example, officials deviated from supply chain procedures by requesting quotations instead of advertising tenders for competitive bidding processes to take place. What is being done is standard procedure.”

Three offices

Details about the exact allegations have been kept under wraps, but three insiders told City Press that some of the allegations involved the following:

. Contractors were paid for installing and maintaining streets lights in settlements where there was none.

. A payment was made to a contractor for replacing 500 prepaid electricity meters, but no job was done.

. A contractor was paid for drilling 300 boreholes, but only four were found on site.

. Contracts were extended irregularly.

“There are 13 top executives fingered and who have been given the letters in the finance, supply chain, water and fleet management departments,” one insider said.

In addition, after this process began, the office of the city’s speaker, Mandla Msibi, was broken into last Sunday night.

Two laptops, two memory sticks and a notepad were stolen.

“I don’t want to point any fingers here, but how can this person pass three offices with computers and go straight to mine?” Msibi asked.

The municipal building has 24-hour security.

Msibi said it appeared that the intruder entered his office through the door and then broke a window from inside. He declined to reveal further information for fear of jeopardising the police investigation.

City Press understands that a power struggle has erupted among the council’s politicians and Msibi has been targeted for being firm on corruption.

Msibi has also been seen as a threat for his closeness to premier David Mabuza who convinced him not to stand as an independent candidate in the last local government elections and ensured he was co-opted to the ANC provincial executive committee.

Other sources claim the investigation is a smokescreen, not targeting officials as such, but seeking to link and taint certain councillors to diminish their chances of election in the ANC’s Ehlanzeni regional conference scheduled for March.

Read more on:    herman mashaba  |  solly msimanga  |  mbombela  |  corruption

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