Zondo commission probes 12 Mpumalanga municipalities

Zondo commission probes 12 Mpumalanga municipalities
INVESTIGATOR: Justice Raymond Zondo of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture sitting in Johannesburg. PICTURE BY News24 

The Mpumalanga municipalities are being probed for fraud and corruption.

The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture sitting in Johannesburg is currently probing atleast 12 Mpumalanga municipalities for fraud and corruption covering the past 10 years. 

Justice Raymond Zondo is currently hard at work digging up old carcasses in five of the 7 Gert Sibande municipalities, 4 of the 6 Nkangala municipalities and one in eHlanzeni.

The Gert Sibande district municipality runs Mpumalanga’s worst local municipalities, having been the subject of a scathing Parliamentary committee report before having a number of its municipalities placed under financial administration by Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane late last year.

Sources this week leaked documents where Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is ordering the 12 Mpumalanga municipalities to account for the period between 2008 and 2018.

The period covers the era from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2018 and various mayors have already been served with instructions to comply with the terms of Zondo’s investigations.

ALSO SEE: Premier Tsipane places 5 Mpumalanga municipalities on financial rescue 

Zondo wants the Chief Albert Luthuli municipality, Dipaleseng, Msukaligwa, Mkhondo, Pixley, Lekwa in the Gert Sibande district municipality and the Thaba Chweu local municipality in Lydenburg as well as Thembisile Hani, JS Moroka, Victor Khanye and Steve Tshwete local municipalities in the Nkangala district municipality to send all audited annual statement as well as a “a schedule detailing the various matters that make up irregular expenditure as reported in the financial statements”.

Surprisingly though the list excludes eMalahleni municipality which was recently the subject of a court case that resulted in it also being placed under financial administration.

RELATED ALSO: Millions set aside to attend to Mpumalanga sewer spillages 

In the letter dated 19 August 2019 and signed by Zondo’s secretary Bridget Shabalala, the commission of inquiry into state capture asks co-operative governance MEC Mandla Msibi to force the officials at the municipalities to comply with Zondo’s investigations.

The commission says they have been receiving a “mixed success” in getting the required documents from the municipalities, with mayors and other officials dodging questions. 

ALSO SEE: Parliament is concerned with “sluggish” neglect of Gert Sibande water waste infrastructure

“Whilst we have a mixed success in terms of getting municipalities within your province to respond to us, we are at the stage where we are asking your assistance in ordering the municipalities to respond to us,” says Zondo to Msibi. 

013NEWS saw atleast 3 orders sent out by Msibi to three of the Mpumalanga municipal mayors this week where they are told “to adhere to a self-explanatory” Zondo letter sent to them to answer certain questions concerning the municipal purse and Msibi in his order adds that the mayors’ “co-operation will be highly appreciated”.

Zondo wants the Mpumalanga mayors to send to him –

– All audited financial statements covering the period 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2018.

– A schedule detailing all the reasons for any irregular expenditure that might have been reported in a certain financial statement.

– Details and lists of all payments made to anybody spanning from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2018.

– Reports of all investigations ever made against or by the 12 mentioned municipalities.

– List of matters ever reported to the municipality, whether fraud or corruption, and the description of each matter, how exactly it happened and when.

– List of the top 20 tenderprenuers in each of the 12 municipalities, measuring them by value each year from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2018.

Zondo commission probes 12 Mpumalanga municipalities
Co-operative governance MEC Mandla Msibi who is being asked by Justice Raymond Zondo to “order” mayors at 12 Mpumalanga municipalities to “respond” to investigations

In July 2019, the SA human rights commission (SAHRC) found some abuse of people’s rights in 3 of the municipalities falling under the Gert Sibande district municipality. The commission found the general unwillingness by officials to attend to raw sewer flowing to people’s homes in Mbalenhle, Leandra, Ermelo and Standerton. 

The Gert Sibande district municipality is run by Muzi Chirwa as mayor.

ALSO RELATED: Democracy Zwane is owed R70 million in dodgy Msukaligwa deal

(edited by ZK)

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