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Mayor calls for probe as municipality struggles to pay salaries

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The mayor of Thembelihle Local Municipality has requested an investigation into irregular payments, where he warned that council might not be able to pay salaries.

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THE MAYOR of Thembelihle Local Municipality, Leonard Makenna, has requested an investigation into irregular payments, where he warned that council might not be able to pay salaries.

In a letter addressed to the acting municipal manager, it was indicated that two officials had backdated the latest upper limits for all public representatives to the amount of R366,429.80, without consent from council or authorisation from the Office of the MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta).

It was pointed out that the increases were implemented despite serious financial challenges faced by the municipality.

The chief financial officer (CFO) allegedly paid R245,064.56 into the personal bank account of the corporate services director on January 25.

Makenna, in correspondence, indicated that the funds were derived from the Municipal Infrastructure Grant.

“These funds have conditions attached – that it may not be used for any other purpose.

“The CFO defaulted on pension fund payments while the two officials apparently changed the bank signatories at Standard Bank without the knowledge of the municipal manager.”

He stated that these irregularities would affect the ability of the municipality to pay salaries in the coming months.

The media liaison officer at Coghsta, Babalwa Mzambo, indicated on that the municipal manager would conduct an investigation and report back to council.

“The matter is still being handled internally. Council will then have to act on the basis of the municipal manager’s report. For now, the MEC cannot get involved,” said Mzambo.

The acting municipal manager had not responded to media enquiries at the time of publication.

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