A Limpopo mayor whose council has been making headlines in the media in recent months – for all the wrong reasons – has decided to rewrite the history of his municipality by applying consequence management to all those whose hands are found in the cookie jar.
Edwin Maila, mayor of the embattled Fetakgomo-Tubatse local municipality in the Sekhukhune region, told The Citizen he was tired of the bad publicity his council has been getting recently.
A fortnight ago, a sheriff of the Limpopo High Court in Polokwane walked into the municipal buildings to attached assets, including vehicles and computers.
This after the council allegedly ignored a high court order to pay a service provider, Mphaphuli Consulting Pty Ltd, a service fee of R9. 7 million.
Because the municipality failed to pay on time, the accumulated interest made the amount it owed R14.9 million. The money was paid minutes before the sheriff could attach any assets.
Mphaphuli Consulting had been contracted to connect electricity to 20 000 households in 25 villages under the municipality.
“Remember, this is the same municipality that had irregularly invested and lost R230 million in VBS [Mutual Bank].
The money was paid in five tranches from 15 November 2016 to 19 February 2018,” Seun Mokgotji, of the Bolsheviks Party of SA, told The Citizen yesterday.
“It is the same municipality that sold a piece of land at R4 million only to buy it back for R108 million. It is also the same municipality that made headlines recently when it paid R2 000 for a five litres of hydraulic oil to a service provider.”
During a 30 September meeting, the council ordered the accounting officer to explain why it had to part ways with R14 million.
Maila confirmed the municipality was seeking answers as to why municipal assets were nearly attached and why the council had to pay out R14.9 million.
“Yes, I can confirm that the council wanted to know if there was negligence committed when the municipality paid the money to the company,” said Maila.
“The council also wanted to understand why there was delay in filling opposing affidavits in court. You must remember, we are here to serve the people of Fetakgomo-Tubatse and not ourselves.
“We conform to the notion that every cent must be accounted for. Elements of malfeasance, corruption, maladministration, laziness and nonaccountability will not be tolerated under my leadership.
Our aim is to become the best municipality in Limpopo in terms of accountability.”