More than 3 000 municipal workers marched against ongoing corruption in the Bojanala Region, Rustenburg, in North West today. News reports just in confirm that 50 people, who infiltrated the mass action, were arrested under the Regulation of Gatherings Act.
“They were isolated and arrested when union leaders alerted the police that a group had joined the march with the intention of disrupting it. They will be charged under the… Act,” said Captain Elsabe Augoustides in a Business Report update on Friday evening.
“Municipal workers are concerned by the unacceptable levels of favouritism, nepotism, political interferences in administrative matters and the rampant corruption taking place on a daily basis in municipalities in the North West province,” the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) said in a statement sent to Corruption Watch.
Union members presented a memorandum with a list of demands to the MEC of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs China Dodovu and the district mayor of Bojanala region, Lowie Diremeleo.
The five local municipalities in Bojanala are Rustenburg, Moses Kotane, Kgetlengrevier, Madibeng and Moretele.
Samwu called for the resignations of five public officials in the region, including Rustenburg’s mayor and municipal manager, and the Moretele municipality mayor, council speaker and the chief whip, for failing communities, municipal workers and ordinary tax payers.
“Rustenburg mayor Mpho Khunou must resign with immediate effect because he ignored and condoned corruption when the former council speaker Mathew Wolmarans continued to draw a monthly salary even though he was in jail,” the statement said.
Wolmarans and his driver, Enoch Matshaba, are in prison for the murder of whistleblower and councillor Moss Phakoe in 2009, after the deceased blew the whistle on the corrupt politician.
Matshaba was also paid monthly salaries for more than eight months while behind bars.
On 21 September, responding to Corruption Watch’s questions regarding Wolmarans’ continued salary payments, ANC North West spokesperson Kenny Marolong said the Provincial Working Committee would meet the following week to discuss the issue.
Corruption Watch today contacted Marolong to find out what was discussed during this meeting. Marolong told the organisation he could not divulge anything at this time, but a statement regarding the matter would be released to the media on Monday 15 October.
Samwu also accused Rustenburg mayor Mpho Khunou of financial mismanagement, stating that he commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct an investigation into the employment practices in the municipality, but its findings were never released.
“More than R500 000 was paid by the municipality to this company to do this work,” the statement said.
“Work was done by this company, but until today the result has never been made public, or even to the council and all other stakeholders. The report is gathering dust wherever it is. The question that needs to be asked is: at whose expense and who has benefited from this process?”
The union also accused Rustenburg municipal manager Dr Maletse Mako of abuse of administrative powers, asserting that she appointed a man called Nketu Matima as a manager in the council speaker’s office until 2017.
“Nobody knows why and how this man was appointed, yet he receives a salary amounting to R900 000 per annum,” said Samwu.
Another man, who earns R850 000 a year, was also appointed to the office of the municipal manager without following proper procedure.
Furthermore, an Eastern Cape company Khetwayo and Molotlegi JV has been contracted to repair water pipes and unlock sewage lines – duties which are usually performed by municipal workers on a daily basis.
An amount of R847 000 was paid to this company this year in August, said the union.
Another local municipality under fire is Moretele, where the union has called for the resignation of mayor Jonas Lehare, the council speaker and the chief whip for continuing to make payments of more than R400 000 to a legal firm called Mosire Tsiane. This firm, according to Samwu, has been used to syphon money from the municipality.
Samwu congratulated law enforcement agencies for acting swiftly in arresting two people in Limpopo and another two in Gauteng for working and colluding with a municipal worker in the Moses Kotane municipality finance department in stealing R6-million from the municipality.
“This is a municipality where workers, who work in the sewage department, are not provided with safety gloves and protective clothing, but the mayor drives a new Audi Q7,” the union added.
“The mayor and his council spent R800 000 during an imbizo held in one of the poor and impoverished villages called Mabeskraal this year in August. The sad part is that the [money] was never authorised.”
Almost all the villages that fall under Moses Kotane municipality are badly serviced and have been running without clean drinking water for months, the union said.
The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Richard Baloyi has sent a committee to investigate corruption Madibeng municipality, a move welcomed by the union, but it was worrying that three months of investigation had not produced any results, the statement read.
Samwu added that the ANC regional executive committee member in Bojanala district, Solinda Mnisi, had been deployed as the strategic director in the office of the mayor of Madibeng, but the position does not exist in the organisational structure.
“Samwu of the North West province will not rest until all corrupt [individuals] are arrested and thrown into jail. We will also not rest until we see proper and efficient services rendered to all communities.
“We will not rest until workers in general and Samwu members in particular, throughout the North West province, are provided with proper protective clothing and working tools.
“These provincial and regional protest actions will be followed by national action, where all Samwu members throughout the country will bring services to a complete halt,” said the union.