National News/28 September 2023, 10:17am / Staff Writer
Embattled Matjhabeng Executive Mayor Thanduxolo Khalipa: image supplied
By Mandla Nkosi: A brewing scandal involving the Matjhabeng Municipality has ignited a heated public debate on transparency and adherence to procurement policies. The conundrum revolves around the Municipality’s controversial purchase of second-hand trucks, raising serious questions about the decision-making process behind the deal.
In a twist of events, the Mayor’s office of Matjhabeng finds itself at the center of allegations of financial mismanagement and potential corruption. This follows their recent announcement that they would not participate in the forthcoming OR Tambo games due to a lack of funds, a decision that has left athletes set to showcase their prowess at the Hoopstad event in the Lejweleputswa district, deeply disappointed.
Recent investigative reports have unveiled alarming information concerning the misuse of funds in Matjhabeng’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). The funds, designated for fair remuneration of general workers, have allegedly been misdirected with some officials suspected of siphoning off 25 to 30 thousand rands for personal gain. These same officials are also alleged to be pulling in regular salaries from the municipality, further fanning the flames of corruption allegations.
Mayor Khalipa stands accused of protecting these officials, thereby impeding investigations. Despite his recent claim of firing all officials implicated in corrupt practices, it was later revealed that a previously accused Chief Financial Officer (CFO) has been granted a permanent position within the municipality.
The Mayor’s credibility took another hit when his claim of the municipality dealing with only six companies was debunked. Official records instead showed dealings with over 150 companies.
The municipality’s troubles escalated when the Mayor’s last-ditch effort to prevent the sheriff from seizing municipal assets was dismissed by the Bloemfontein Magistrate Court on Friday. As a result, the court allowed 15 companies owed by the municipality to proceed with the seizure of municipal assets.
Currently, the municipality owes a substantial total of 88 million to MC Security PTY LTD, Puseletso PTY LTD, and Motse Warona PTY LTD. Additionally, it is in arrears of over 200 million to fifteen other companies.
A recent audit of the municipal accounts revealed that companies have already claimed 50 million owed to them by the Municipality.
In light of these controversies, the Municipality now finds itself under intense scrutiny, with growing demands for accountability, transparency, and a commitment to remedy the severe mismanagement of public funds.
Meanwhile a motion has been tabled by the Democratic Alliance in Parliament calling for an urgent investigation into the Municipality’s finances. The motion, which was unanimously adopted, will be sent to the President and the Premier. Although they are not obliged to give effect, they would do so against the wishes of Parliament as the representatives of the People.
In a shocking revelation, it has been alleged that the Matjhabeng Municipality paid a staggering R3.2 million each for ten second-hand trucks, blatantly breaching government rules that prohibit such purchases by public bodies.