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Anger in Limpopo after R3 million paid for boreholes but no work done

A report from the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has revealed that a service provider has been awarded R3.1 million for unexecuted work after being hired by the Mopani Municipality of Limpopo to drill and equip boreholes.

The boreholes were drilled and equipped in the local municipality of Greater Tzaneen, but the SIU investigation found that they were illegally connected to the Eskom power line and not through transformers as described by the municipality.

According to the municipality’s specification, the boreholes would have been drilled, equipped and electrified by means of a transformer so that it could be fully operational.

Former President Jacob Zuma signed a proclamation in 2017 authorizing the SIU to investigate allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the renovation and electrification of boreholes in Mopani Municipality. The boreholes were drilled between 2014 and 2018. When Zuma stepped down in February 2018 and Cyril Ramaphosa was elected president by the National Assembly, the SIU investigations were still ongoing.

The final report of the SIU was released to the municipality on November 30, 2021. The report was then presented to the Board on December 7 and February 10. The report was presented together with the internal municipal investigations.

However, the revelations angered the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which threatened to open criminal cases against those suspected of corruption.

“The SIU report revealed that the then Chief Financial Officer (CFO), who became Municipal Manager for the Municipality of Mopani District, Quiet Kgatla, had failed to perform the functions of his office in a good faith, diligent, honest and transparent manner. way,” EFF Limpopo provincial chairman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in a statement.

“In his corrupt and fraudulent activity, he allowed useless and wasteful expenditure by approving payments on behalf of the municipality and declaring that transformers were installed while the said transformers were not installed. In doing so, he has violated Appendix 2 of Article 6 of the Municipal System Act.

“The EFF firmly believes that there was a conspiracy between the contractor and Kgatla, and that there was a corrupt and corrupt relationship. We will therefore open a criminal case against Kgatla and all parties involved in the transaction,” Ndlozi added.

In response to the EFF allegations on Wednesday, Mopani Municipality spokesman Orders Ngobeni said the SIU report revealed that the satellite manager, who was responsible for the work that was the center of the controversy, was both the chief financial officer and the chief executive officer. accounting officer by confirming and certifying that the work as claimed by the service provider was completed, resulting in the payment of R3.1 million.

The report also noted that the actions of the municipal manager (who was then the chief financial officer) amounted to negligence and violated Section 171(2) of the MFMA.

Ngobeni said the municipality is taking disciplinary action against the satellite operator. He said the council has since suspended the manager and disciplinary action is being taken against him.

He added that the council does not rule out the possibility of more officials being appointed.

Ngobeni said the council’s decision was that it should recover the money from the former municipal manager and the service provider, in accordance with the provisions of Article 32 of the Municipal Financial Management Act (MFMA) or in accordance with the common law.

“Since then, we have learned of the resignation of the former municipal manager, which was of course a unilateral act. We cannot therefore take any disciplinary action against him as he is no longer employed by the Council and we would like to thank him for the contributions he has made to our program to build a better life for the people of this district.” Ngobeni said. †

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