LE­GAL CHAL­LENGE THE SEC­TION 106 IN­VES­TI­GA­TION RE­PORT ‘I be­lieve that there is a need for all the facts to be put on the ta­ble and that my per­se­cu­tors should have their say and I should be given my right to re­ply . . .’

– Sus­pended Sol Plaatje Mu­nic­i­pal­ity chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, Ly­dia Mahloko


SUS­PENDED Sol Plaatje Mu­nic­i­pal­ity chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer (CFO), Ly­dia Mahloko, and mu­nic­i­pal man­ager, Goolam Akhar­waray, have in­di­cated that they will be un­der­tak­ing “le­gal pro­ce­dures” in con­nec­tion with the Sec­tion 106 in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­port into al­leged ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties at the Sol Plaatje Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Mahloko said yes­ter­day that she in­tended to file an ap­pli­ca­tion for a re­view of the en­tire re­port on the ba­sis that the cor­rect pro­ce­dures were not fol­lowed.

“We will be meet­ing with our lawyers for the fi­nal con­sul­ta­tions next week and will ap­proach the court soon af­ter to ob­tain a date for the mat­ter to be heard.”

The Sol Plaatje City Coun­cil is sched­uled to dis­cuss the re­port at a meet­ing set for the end of No­vem­ber.

Akhar­waray mean­while in­di­cated that he con­sid­ered the re­port “il­le­gal” in terms of its mer­its and the pro­ce­dure adopted, stat­ing that he would also be un­der­tak­ing “le­gal pro­ce­dures”.

The find­ings of the Sec­tion 106 in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­port, con­ducted from July to Septem­ber 2018 into al­le­ga­tions of ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties at Sol Plaatje Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, was pre­sented by the MEC of Co-op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance, Hu­man Set­tle­ments and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs (Cogh­sta), Bent­ley Vass, at a coun­cil meet­ing last week.

The re­port or­dered that crim­i­nal charges be laid against Mahloko, and that Akhar­waray face dis­ci­plinary steps for fail­ing to act against the CFO.

In what was de­scribed as “a ma­jor vic­tory for the thou­sands of protesters” who had brought Kim­ber­ley to its knees dur­ing vi­o­lent protests, which left a trail of un­prece­dented de­struc­tion, may­hem and loot­ing, the pro­vin­cial ANC agreed to sus­pend Mahloko and Akhar­waray on July 16 2018, “in or­der to al­low for un­hin­dered in­ves­ti­ga­tions”.

The Sec­tion 106 in­ves­ti­ga­tion was launched soon af­ter.

The re­port stated that Cogh­sta was ad­vised that both Mahloko and Akhar­waray should be sub­jected to life­style au­dits.

It re­marked that Mahloko’s al­leged 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 re­port also rec­om­mended that crim­i­nal charges be laid against Mahloko af­ter she ver­bally in­structed the ac­coun­tant cred­i­tors to pay LSOGA Projects (Pty) Ltd for the may­oral ve­hi­cle that was used by fthe ormer Sol Plaatje ex­ec­u­tive mayor, Man­gal­iso Matika – an Audi Q7 with a price tag of R1.1 mil­lion.

The ac­coun­tant cred­i­tors had hand­writ­ten on the face of the in­voice that Mahloko had tele­phon­i­cally re­quested her on Fe­bru­ary 26 to “im­me­di­ately ef­fect pay­ment, with­out any writ­ten in­struc­tions”, the re­port found.

How­ever, Mahloko in­di­cated that she would sub­mit a re­view ap­pli­ca­tion for the en­tire Sec­tion 106 re­port to be set aside, adding that Akhar­waray would also be mak­ing a state­ment in this re­gard as he was an “in­ter­ested party”.

Akhar­waray also yes­ter­day in­di­cated that he would be un­der­tak­ing “le­gal pro­ce­dures” as he con­sid­ered the re­port il­le­gal in terms of its pro­ce­dures and mer­its.

Mahloko ear­lier this week told the DFA that she had “com­mit­ted no act of mis­con­duct nor had she acted in any cor­rupt man­ner in do­ing her work at the Sol Plaatje Mu­nic­i­pal­ity”, adding that she was not op­posed to be­ing taken to court, so that she can “clear her name”.

“I am of the firm be­lief that this whole thing is noth­ing but a con­tin­u­a­tion of the per­se­cu­tion that I am sub­jected to at the Sol Plaatje Mu­nic­i­pal­ity for my prin­ci­pled and vo­cif­er­ous de­ter­mi­na­tion to see trans­for­ma­tion tak­ing place,” Mahloko said.

“I have been per­se­cuted for ad­vo­cat­ing with­out fear or favour for the fol­low­ing: women em­pow­er­ment; small con­trac­tor de­vel­op­ment and the break­ing of mo­nop­o­lis­tic holds on cer­tain big con­tracts; the em­pow­er­ment of lo­cal busi­nesses; putting the com­mu­nity first; com­pli­ance; and last, but not least, my re­fusal to be a pawn in po­lit­i­cal fac­tional bat­tles.

“I will not change my prin­ci­ple stances on these mat­ters for any­body or any­thing.

“I be­lieve that there is a need for all the facts to be put on the ta­ble and that my per­se­cu­tors should have their say and I should be given my right to re­ply. I want a pub­lic hear­ing on this mat­ter so that all the peo­ple of the Sol Plaatje mu­nic­i­pal area and the world can hear first-hand and live as the mat­ters are de­lib­er­ated upon,” she con­cluded.

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