MEC launches corruption investigation

Alvin Botes
Alvin Botes

Investigations into allegations of irregular, wasteful expenditure and maladministration in the Dawid Kruiper Local Muni­cipality in Upington is set to commence today after Alvin Botes, the MEC for the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (CoGHSTA), gave the go-ahead.

The announcement was made by Botes on Friday (03/02), when he evoked Section 105 (a) of the Systems Act, 32 of 2000, which gives him provision for Provincial Monitoring on municipalities and designating an investigating team if necessary.

Section 105 (a) of the act makes provision for provincial monitoring by the MEC of local government in the province to monitor municipalities in managing their affairs, exercising their powers and performing their functions.

The MEC must then give a written notice to the municipality and request that the municipal council or municipal manager provide the MEC with information required in the notice.

If the MEC considers it necessary, he has the right to designate a person or persons to investigate the matter.

The investigating team, consisting of provincial and national department specialists and the anti-corruption team, have 14 days to conduct the investigation and compile a report with recommendations to the MEC.

The Dawid Kruiper Local Municipality went through an amalgamation process in 2016 in an effort to optimise the financial viability of the new municipality.

It had previously been divided into the Mier Local Municipality and the //Khara Hais Local Municipality.

Investigations follow complaints from the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) with regard to irregularities of the appointment of the municipal mana­ger, irregular expenditure and staff suspensions.

Complaints of ongoing CCMA and labour law cases are also reported to be among those raised with the Anti-Corruption Unit of the National Treasury, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) and the Presidency.

“There were further issues raised by the Regional Office of CoGHSTA with regard to the initial appointment of the municipal manager in 2013, which resurfaced again in 2016,” added Botes.

Further allegations of irregular land disposal processes that are not aligned with policy and legislation, including irregular procurement processes which could possibly have been a breach of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA), was raised.

The MEC will table the recommendations to the council of Dawid Kruiper upon receipt of the final report.

However, Cosatu in the Northern Cape opposed the act to investigate the municipality and regards it as political mischief of the highest order.

They accuse Botes of using state institutions and government officials to deal with political opponents in the name of the fight against corruption.

Citing the absence of a formal complaint from Samwu on the irregularities in that municipality, Cosatu accused Botes of playing political games due to himself contesting for the same position of provincial secretary with the municipal manager of the Dawid Kruiper Municipality.

“Why is he so desperate to have the investigation concluded in 14 days when his teams took forever to investigate Nama Khoi, Kheis and Phokwane?” read the statement from Anele Gxoyiya of Cosatu.­

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