Huge amounts of money were spent by the municipality drilling boreholes for the homes of politicians in the water-scarce JS Moroka villages.
The JS Moroka local municipality in Siyabuswa spent R10.8 million drilling and installing only 14 boreholes to the homes of ANC councillors and municipal executives – with Nkangala ANC regional leader Speedy Mashilo’s cattle also getting one of the 14 despite him living in another municipality.
The municipality was charged more than R860 000 to drill and install the one borehole to the farm for Mashilo’s cattle.
The farm is in Kameelpoort, KwaMhlanga in the Thembisile Hani local municipality and keeps the ANC leader’s cattle.
Two companies, Mfondo Trading Services and Irhalane Construction, were awarded the tender to drill the 14 boreholes in the area.
Mfondo Trading Services was paid R8.6 million for 10 boreholes, charging the municipality an amount of more than R860 000 for each borehole while Irhalane Construction charged R2.2 million for drilling 4 boreholes – an amount of more than R560 000 a borehole.
The two companies were given the work without it going out to tender.
One of the 10 built by Mfondo Trading Services was given to Mashilo.
A leaked investigation report shows that the JS Moroka local municipality was granted R18 million in drought relief funds by the national department of water & sanitation.
The funds were supposed to be used to drill hundreds of boreholes for the community of the water-scarce area.
But it ended up being used to drill only 14 boreholes, one for Mashilo’s cattle, another for the cattle of ex-manager of technical services Ephraim Babedi, another for councillor Moni Sekwala’s house and another for councillor Jerry Segalagala’s house.
Mashilo in his reply to investigators conducting the investigation on behalf of the Mpumalanga department of co-operative governance said the borehole was not necessarily installed for the cattle but for scores of other families who live on the farmland.
He confirmed his cattle drank from the borehole but said the cows of the Mogolego family also drank from the borehole as does an elderly woman who lives in the vicinity across and other farm-dwellers.
The report paints a picture of the JS Moroka municipality being Mpumalanga’s worst municipality.
It shows how elected officials abused their powers to do anything they liked, including driving to casinos at night with bodyguards and claiming hundreds of thousands of rands for overtime, awarding work to companies belonging to cronies to do work at inflated prices, nepotism, corruption and bad governance.
Mandla Msibi’s co-operative governance department late last year ordered the investigations into Govan Mbeki, Pixley ka Seme and JS Moroka local municipalities.
Msibi released the report a few weeks ago. It says mayor Thulare Madileng, who resigned with immediate effect on 1 October 2020 having been in the hot seat since September 2017, abused taxpayers money by using his state vehicle to travel to see friends in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
The report says Madileng’s municipal car was pouring petrol almost everyday, in other instances twice a day and sometimes pouring petrol at midnight, using the municipality’s petrol card.
The bodyguards told investigators that Madileng used to take them to casinos, where he would gamble and then later allow one of them to claim overtime from the municipality, amounting to R123 000 from July 2018 to February 2020.
The motor vehicle killed 60 260km in just 7 months, inccuring R122 744 in petrol costs.
For January 2019 alone, Madileng killed 12 403km – raking up R25 000 in fuel costs.
This includes traveling to Durban for the ANC’s January 8 statement of the ANC in that month.
The report shows that Madileng spent no less than R22 000 a month on petrol, traveling to ANC gatherings, private events and municipal duties.
His bodyguards said they protected Madileng when he did his private visits (80%), municipal duties (10%) and ANC gatherings (10%).
Madileng said it was no secret that he visited casinos and gambles but it certainly didn’t mean that each time he was at a casino he was there to gamble.
He told investigators that sometimes he would travel to Graceland Casino not to gamble but to attend a meeting or to sleep overnight.
It also found that former municipal manager Thami Kubheka hired a security company to escort him to and from work and protect his home 24hrs a day without council approval or any form of risk assessment.
The security guards guarded Kubheka from 29 March 2019 to 05 December 2019 – at R340 000.
Kubheka said the reason for flouting rules and hiring the guards was because two weeks after being employed as municipal manager on 1 March 2019 he noticed a car that was following him while he was driving from work and the occupants began firing shots at his car, and he ran to Kwaggafontein police station to open a case.
Kubheka said when he arrived at the municipality he found that the municipality was being used as a cash cow of politicians with fixed payments to companies doing no work in reality, like the spending of R40 million on the construction of a fresh produce market that to date remains incomplete – despite it initially being a R4.8 million project.
He said he almost lost his life after he stopped the project.
Actions in the report are recommended against a string of officials at the municipality, including Madileng and Kubheka.
The Nkangala ANCYL said they were calling on all the number of people who are implicated in the report to “immediately step aside”.
“The ANCYL further calls for law enforcement agencies to criminally prosecute all those implicated in the looting spree and that all public funds be recouped from the looters.
“The ANCYL in Nkangala region pleads with the leadership of the ANC to be hands on in making sure that all those implicated do indeed step aside”.
(edited by ZK)