The Democratic Alliance in Gauteng wants the African National Congress to fire the Emfuleni mayor for spending more than R1.7 million on KFC, Nando’s and expensive hotels “while the residents go hungry”.
Mayor Simon Mofokeng’s luxury lifestyle was in direct contrast to the challenges Emfuleni residents faced every day, said Kingsol Chabalala, DA Gauteng constituency head in Emfuleni North.
Emfuleni is one of the three municipalities making up the Sedibeng district, and includes towns such as Vereeniging and Vanderbijlpark.
“It is shameful that Mofokeng, a senior ANC leader, continues to dine in the lap of luxury when so many in the municipality go hungry,” Chabalala said on Thursday.
Between November 2015 and April 2017, Mofokeng gobbled up R629 000, Chabalala claimed.
Chabalala also revealed that Mofokeng had racked up R1.1 million between 2011 and 2015, while he was still the mayor of the Sedibeng District Municipality.
Chabalala said this was revealed by Gauteng Cooperative Governance MEC Paul Mashatile, in a reply to a DA question in the legislature.
Replying documents signed by Mashatile on Monday, which News24 has seen, revealed that Mofokeng had made personal claims amounting to R629 000 since he became the mayor of Emfuleni.
The document also showed that Mofokeng claimed back a total of R1.1 million between 2011 and 2015.
According to the document, from March 2016 to April 2017, Mofokeng made the claims after attending meetings with investors, unemployed youths, entrepreneurs, stakeholders, and residents of the municipality.
Apart from Mofokeng’s claims for luxury hotel stays and his appetite for fast food, strange fuel claims were submitted for his private car, as well as claims for car hire, despite him having an official mayoral vehicle, said Chabalala.
In the document, Shakespeare Inn, Riverside Sun, KFC, Nando’s and fuel feature frequently.
The DA has requested that Mashatile’s office provide a more detailed list, including amounts and invoices on Mofokeng’s government credit card claims, he added.
“Mayor Mofokeng’s monthly spending habits fly in the face of Finance MEC Barbara Creecy’s statements on practising austerity and cutting back on luxury hotel stays and fast food,” Chabalala said.
Chabalala claimed Mofokeng’s municipality was in financial distress, yet it seemed that Mofokeng could not be bothered to cut back on his own expenditure.
Emfuleni mayoral spokesperson Lebo Mofokeng said it was common cause that expenditure associated with the office of the executive mayor was expended within the domain of his duties as a functionary within the executive office.
She said the expenditure associated with executive offices was not unique or limited to the Emfuleni local municipality, but normally related to entertainment, stakeholders’ engagements, business meetings, and investor engagements in the execution of his official functions.
“The office of the mayor is not only responsible for programmes of the mayor, but also for those of the mayoral committee and the municipal manager. It must also be noted that part of the figures in question are over a period of five years, and not a single year as it has been reported in the media,” Lebo Mofokeng said.
She said the mayor was aware of current challenges within the local authority and had, therefore, been driving cost cutting measures since his deployment.
“Since his deployment to the municipality, the institution has obtained unqualified audit opinions, with less matters of emphasis from the Auditor-General, and it also worth noting the three clean audits that the Sedibeng District Municipality attained during his term as the mayor.”
“In my deployment to Emfuleni Local Municipality, one of my key deliverables was to curb financial leaks and improve financial viability,” Mofokeng said.
The mayor reiterated that this was part of a sustained smear campaign emanating from the DA’s dismal performance in the 2016 local government elections, “which saw the dreams of Chabalala, who was a DA mayoral candidate, fade away”.