Re­port shows ‘ev­i­dent loot­ing’ of state money


OP­PO­SI­TION par­ties raised many con­cerns – from fears of loot­ing of state money to in­flated prices paid for goods – dur­ing the tabling of the Enoch Mgi­jima Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity quar­terly re­port for the pe­riod end­ing De­cem­ber 31 by mayor Lindiwe Gunuza-Nk­wentsha at a spe­cial coun­cil meet­ing on Mon­day.

The re­port showed that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had failed to col­lect the planned rev­enue from all its sources in the ser­vice de­liv­ery and bud­get im­ple­men­ta­tion plan, ex­cept for R1 229 re­cov­ered from fines.

DA coun­cil­lor Zuko Mandile asked about R188 000 that was used to pre­pare an an­nual re­port, say­ing that was a clear in­di­ca­tion of loot­ing.

“The mayor needs to ex­plain how it is pos­si­ble to spend al­most R200 000 pre­par­ing an an­nual re­port. This re­port shows that there is ev­i­dent loot­ing of state money, but as usual, the mayor will not ac­count for any of the in­ex­pli­ca­ble ex­pen­di­ture.”

EFF coun­cil­lor Luthando Amos also made ref­er­ence to the re­port about R1.8-mil­lion which is said to have been used to clean the cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict dur­ing the 2016 mu­nic­i­pal workers’ strike and queried the amount spent.

United Front coun­cil­lor Aaron Mhlontlo com­plained about var­i­ous al­leged in­con­sis­ten­cies in the re­port and the in­flated prices of items bought, re­fer­ring to a wiper blade and an air fil­ter which were said to have cost the mu­nic­i­pal­ity R55 000.

“I do not re­mem­ber how many times we have com­plained about the same things, but no one seems to care. We are frus­trated. State money meant for ser­vice de­liv­ery is used for per­sonal gain. We speak about a bank­rupt mu­nic­i­pal­ity but money is there and is used in­ap­pro­pri­ately. This has to stop and the onus is on the mu­nic­i­pal man­ager to en­sure that it never hap­pens again.”

ANC coun­cil­lor No­luthando Nqabisa de­liv­ered stern words to coun­cil mem­bers who had not paid their mu­nic­i­pal ac­counts, and to di­rec­tors who con­tin­ued to au­tho­rise the pay­ment of over­time with­out any proof of work be­ing done.

“The is­sue of un­der-col­lec­tion by this mu­nic­i­pal­ity is get­ting worn out be­cause we dis­cuss it but noth­ing is done. We first need to deal with the ele­phant in the room. A res­o­lu­tion was taken that coun­cil­lors make ar­range­ments so that monies owed to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity would be de­ducted from their salaries, but that is yet to hap­pen. Di­rec­tors must stop au­tho­ris­ing over­time un­til there is a clear con­trol sys­tem.”

Var­i­ous in­con­sis­ten­cies re­lat­ing to mu­nic­i­pal ex­pen­di­ture were high­lighted by coun­cil with the mayor re­spond­ing that she, too, did not know where the money had gone.

“It is im­por­tant that an in­ves­ti­ga­tion is done if nec­es­sary, be­cause I would also like to know what hap­pened to all the money that is said to have been spent on the items high­lighted.”

Mu­nic­i­pal man­ager Nt­sokolo Mag­wangqana said the re­port should be tai­lored in a way that would give de­tails on how monies were spent.

He said all the in­con­sis­ten­cies should be re­viewed thor­oughly and a more cost-ef­fec­tive way of pur­chas­ing adopted.

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