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Task team to probe Sol

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The task team would complete its investigation within the next 21 days and submit its findings and recommendations

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THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) has been tasked with investigating a wide range of issues at Sol Plaatje Municipality, including the mayoral residence, the mayor’s Audi Q7 that was purchased for R1 million and the alleged mismanagement of municipal funds.

The appointment of a public relations company to promote the municipality’s ill-fated R260 basic electricity levy, where they were apparently paid R1.2 million, will also be probed.

A task team, consisting of officials from Coghsta, the South African Local Government Association (Salga), the Office of the Premier and Provincial Treasury, has been appointed to investigate whether there was any conflict of interest when the company was awarded the tender.

Spokesperson for Coghsta, Xhanti Teki, said that the task team would determine if any official, councillor or any of their family members and associates, past and present, in terms of the aforementioned company, its directors, shareholders, employees or associates had a vested interest in this particular company.

“The appointment of consultants/service providers with specific reference to the appointment of the service provider who sent out SMSes to households will be looked into as well as whether procedures were followed in terms of supply chain management processes.

“The task team will also investigate whether other consultants/service providers were appointed without following the proper procedures as per the municipal finance management act.”

Teki stated that the procurement of the executive mayor’s private residence, since 2016, would also come under the spotlight for compliance with the regulations and supply chain management policy.

He added that the car rentals booked out for the mayor since August 2016 would be investigated as well as if these rentals were for official engagements.

“The investigation will include whether irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure were incurred on the repairs and maintenance of the mayoral vehicles given the subsequent purchase of a new mayoral vehicle and reported to the relevant authorities.”

Teki said they would also examine the disposal of municipal land and if it complied with the relevant legislation as well as complaints from Lerato Park residents regarding housing development.

Teki indicated that the electricity tariffs that were approved by the municipality would be investigated to determine if they complied with the approved tariff structure of Nersa.

“Compliance with internal processes and systems with regards to risk management, performance management, general management and service delivery, income and expenditure patterns at the municipality and if it is able to meets its obligations in terms of statutory payments and creditors will be probed along with allegations of the mismanagement of municipal funds.”

He added that the appointment of the acting municipal Speaker would also come under the spotlight as well as the matters leading to the council meeting of May 30.

Teki indicated that the task team would complete its investigation within the next 21 days and submit its findings and recommendations.

The inter-departmental task team consists of the following officials:

Mr T Mabija (provincial treasury) – Chairperson of the panel

Mr P Seane (Coghsta)

Ms B Mgaguli (provincial treasury)

Mr R Rahlano (provincial treasury)

Ms L Lecwidi (Coghsta)

Mr J Blom (Salga Northern Cape)

Ms M Mabotsa (Coghsta)

Advocate K Victor (Office of the Premier)

ANC provincial secretary Deshi Ngxanga yesterday welcomed the Section 106 investigation that was instituted by the MEC for Coghsta, Bentley Vass, at the Sol Plaatje Municipality.

“We are pleased that the investigation will not only be focused on the two suspended officials (the municipal manager and the CFO) but will include the executive mayor, Mangaliso Matika. We continue to call on anyone with information of any wrongdoing by any official or councillor at the Sol Plaatje Municipality to come forward and hand over such information to the task team.”

Ngxanga believed that this course of action would go a long way towards normalising the situation within the municipality and the city.

“People should be allowed to return to work and pupils should go back to school. This should also allow for the Galeshewe township to return to full normality with our community able to access basic services and products in their locality. This should also allow the matric class of 2018 to focus fully on their academic studies.”

He added that they would continue to engage broadly with civil society, business organisations and the religious community in order to find an amicable solution to the current impasse.