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Community angry that mayor, municipal manager still at their posts

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Disgruntled Colesberg community members meet with Premier Zamani Saul over alleged municipal corruption.

Community members protest against alleged corruption at the Umsobomvu Local Municipality in Colesberg. Pictures: Supplied

COLESBERG community members are aggrieved that the Umsobomvu mayor and municipal manager are still at their posts, despite repeated calls that they step down pending a forensic investigation into allegations of fraud, corruption and mismanagement at the municipality.

Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul met with the community on Thursday, November 26, following protest action last week in Colesberg.

They were angry that Saul and the MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, Bentley Vass, did not meet with them as initially promised on Monday, November 23.

The community members stated that they tried to chase away the mayor and municipal manager at the meeting on November 26, which was also attended by a provincial delegation that included Vass, the MEC for Health, Maruping Lekwene, and the MEC for Education, Zolile Monakali.

They indicated that Saul had promised that an independent forensic auditor would be sent to the municipality on Monday, November 30.

“He (Saul) told us that he would report back to us within the next three weeks with the findings,” they said.

“The premier advised us that the officials could not be suspended or the municipality dissolved if there was no evidence. We are not happy because they must be suspended until the outcome of the forensic investigation.”

Residents were, however, sceptical whether the deadline for feedback would be met as it would fall in the festive season holidays.

The Premier’s Office did not respond to media enquiries.

It was not indicated who would fund the forensic investigation and if an independent auditor had already been appointed to begin investigations as early as next week.

No mention was made whether an intervention would be made to dissolve council if the report produced any adverse findings.

The community had been outraged when they discovered that Saul and Vass were not available to address them when they marched to the municipality on November 20.

The police fired tear gas and stun grenades, while community members burnt tyres, pelted the police with stones and apparently looted a shop.

Four people were arrested for public violence after the entrance to Kuyasa was barricaded with stones and burning tyres.