Thabazimbi council wants forensic audit

2016-09-11 13:33
Mayor of Thabazimbi municipality, Midah Moselane

Mayor of Thabazimbi municipality, Midah Moselane

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Thabazimbi - Too broke to settle debts and recover the municipal council’s attached property, the hope for troubled Thabazimbi Local Municipality in Limpopo now rests on donations from Good Samaritans for office furniture and computers to help it become operational again.

For two weeks now, the municipality has been relying on one computer shared by various departments, while workers have been reporting for duty, only to sit under trees.

There is hope, though, after some businesses and individuals promised to donate furniture and computers.

Reacting to a story published in last week’s City Press – telling of Thabazimbi’s financial woes and seized property – readers offered free services in the form of financial management and training for the municipality, which has received disclaimer audit opinions in the past three financial years, as well as donations of furniture.

This after City Press reported that the municipal offices were left bare following the attachment of furniture and computers by service providers and other creditors who were owed more than R400 million.

This happened just a day after the new council, led by a coalition between the DA and Thabazimbi Residents’ Association, was sworn in.

Mayor Midah Moselane has yet to welcome any guests to her mayoral office because it remains empty.

The R400 million debt reportedly owed by the municipality includes more than R140 million owed to Eskom and in excess of R30 million to the Water Supply Board.

Municipal property was attached by service providers, who said Thabazimbi municipality had failed to honour payment agreements.

Moselane said: “We have had more companies coming through this week saying they were also owed by the municipality, and we had to do our best to prevent any further attachment of municipal property.”

The new Thabazimbi speaker, Dr Lambert Joubert, said the council had this week written to Treasury and the department of cooperative governance, seeking financial intervention.

“This is the next step after the provincial government placed the municipality under administration, but all this failed,” he said, adding that the new council had uncovered unlawful and irregular expenses from the last financial year amounting to more than R200 million.

Joubert said this could be the tip of the iceberg and council was hoping Treasury would accede to its request for a forensic audit.

“We are already busy with an investigation into the conduct of some senior managers. There are some agreements and purchases that were not done in accordance with the Municipal Finance Management Act processes, hence the unlawful and irregular expenditures.”

Asked whether the department was happy with the work done by the administrator and its intervention in Thabazimbi so far, Limpopo cooperative governance spokesperson Kathu Razwiedani said yes.

Without saying what the department was doing to remedy the situation in Thabazimbi, Razwiedani said: “We are supporting the municipality, just as we have done with others.”

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