Charge municipality’s CFO
THE SECTION 106 report into allegations of shocking irregularities at Sol Plaatje Municipality, which has been withheld from the public, has ordered that criminal charges be laid against the chief financial officer (CFO), Lydia Mahloko, and that the municipal manager, Goolam Akharwaray, face disciplinary steps for failing to act against the CFO.
The Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements, Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) was advised that both officials should be subjected to lifestyle audits.
The former executive mayor of Sol Plaatje, Mangaliso Matika, has largely been exonerated from wrongdoing, in the report that was leaked to the DFA yesterday.
However, he will still be subjected to a Hawks investigation into his mayoral residence and car rentals.
Matika resigned from office in September, following an outcry from the community, widespread protests and a court battle.
The report indicated that it was evident that the initial complaints were “not against the political office of the executive mayor, but against the administration”.
“However his (Matika’s) lack lustre and/or reluctance to act decisively allowed opportunistic elements to jump on the bandwagon, demanding his removal from office.”
It remarked that Mahloko’s abuse of office had contributed to the “negative appreciation of her character” by employees of Sol Plaatje Municipality.
The task team ordered that all capital projects dating back to 2016, in which the CFO was involved, be investigated for non-compliance with supply chain management processes and whether she exerted any undue influence in the awarding of tenders.
“The CFO manipulated the process for the appointments of Bigen Africa for the Lerato Park bulk link services and V3 for the IDP project. During the construction of two new multi-purpose courts at the Galeshewe Stadium, the CFO stalled the process by not releasing the necessary information until the R15 million municipal infrastructure grant was forfeited by the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs.”
The report pointed out that the a wrong perception was created that there was no funding for the upgrade and construction of the Galeshewe Stadium.
“Funding was provided and due to the delay the project is not progressing. It was agreed during a meeting with the municipal manager, CFO and project manager, that the project would proceed. However the CFO, despite the collective agreement, stalled the process with dire consequences for the further development of the project.”
The task team indicated that Mahloko had led negotiations with the consulting engineer for the Gogga pump station during May, without the knowledge of the project manager and Key Performance Indicator owner.
“The CFO submitted the name of Ellicidor 178 CC as her preferred sub-contractor with regards to the Gogga pump station project directly to the consulting engineer.”
It has been recommended that the relationship between Ellicidor and Mahloko be investigated.
The municipality was instructed to tighten its internal controls.
“The CFO was allegedly abusing the electronic payment mechanism.”
The task team indicated that it was risky for a non-expert to lead negotiations on matters where the CFO did not possess the required skills and expertise.
“The practice of the CFO cut across the municipality as she also led negotiations in the IT section, much to the discontent of the chief information officer.”