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.