Hawks probe ‘ghost’ worker at Makana

Grocott's Mail - - NEWS - By SUE MACLENNAN

Pub­lic ser­vice watch­dog PSAM says the Hawks should be se­cur­ing preser­va­tion or­ders against the as­sets of sus­pected ben­e­fi­cia­ries of al­leged fraud­u­lent pay­ments by Makana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

This was in re­sponse to con­fir­ma­tion by the Direc­torate for Pri­or­ity Crime In­ves­ti­ga­tion that they are in­ves­ti­gat­ing an al­leged ‘ghost’ em­ployee at Makana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Some sources spec­u­late that Makana may have as many as 80 em­ploy­ees on its pay­roll who can­not be ac­counted for.

Hawks East­ern Cape spokesper­son Cap­tain Anelisa Feni on Fri­day 19 Oc­to­ber told Gro­cott’s Mail that a “new case” of an al­leged ghost em­ployee at Makana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

Sev­eral in­side sources last week said they be­lieved there could be as many as 80 ‘em­ploy­ees’, mak­ing up 10% of Makana’s salary bill, who could not be ac­counted for; how­ever nei­ther the Hawks nor Mu­nic­i­pal Man­ager Moppo Mene would con­firm this.

Re­spond­ing to ques­tions from Gro­cott’s Mail, Feni said, “We have a new case of an al­leged ghost em­ployee at the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“Mat­ter is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated. I am un­able to give fur­ther com­ment at this stage with re­gards to this case.”

And Mene said, “There is a case that we have opened... of the ‘ghost’ em­ployee… the mat­ter is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated…”

As to whether this was only the tip of the ice­berg, Mene said, “We can’t say the ex­tent of the sit­u­a­tion for now.”

Sources said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion had been set in mo­tion af­ter a ghost em­ployee came for­ward who had been on the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s pay­roll since 2013.

Pub­lic Ser­vice Ac­count­abil­ity Mon­i­tor (PSAM) Di­rec­tor Jay Kru­use said, “Hope­fully the Hawks are co­or­di­nat­ing with the As­set For­fei­ture Unit (AFU) to se­cure preser­va­tion or­ders against the ghost worker(s) if they have any as­sets to se­cure.”

Staff costs make up close to 50% of Makana’s to­tal op­er­at­ing bud­get of R432.2 mil­lion

On Oc­to­ber 11 Gro­cott’s Mail re­ported that Eskom in­tends to im­pose power cuts on Makana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity at the start of the Fes­tive Sea­son be­cause of Makana’s out­stand­ing debt of R67.5 mil­lion.

Makana’s Fi­nance direc­torate has strug­gled since at least 2012 to hire and re­tain per­ma­nent chief ex­ec­u­tives. Cases of ghost work­ers have also arisen be­fore.

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