Our zero this week is the Matjhabeng local municipality in the Free State – not content with spectacularly mismanaging its own budget, the municipality is footing the legal bill for two former MECs who are in court for alleged abuse of public funds.
Matjhabeng, according to News24, has never received a clean audit since its inception and has received a disclaimer of opinion and adverse findings consecutively for at least the last five financial years.
In addition, the municipality is reported to be one of the three worst indebted municipalities in the province in terms of not paying its electricity bill. Matjhabeng, with the Maluti-a-Phofung and Ngwathe local municipalities, owes Eskom over R2.6-million, which is 73% of the total municipal debt in the Free State, says the newspaper.
Matjhabeng is now paying the legal costs for health MEC Benny Malakoane, formerly the municipal manager of Matjhabeng, and sports, arts and culture MEC Mathabo Leeto, the former executive mayor. The two are on trial for their alleged involvement in a multi-million rand fraud and racketeering ring, irregular tender processes, and abuse of public funds.
For compounding its own waste of public money with the use of taxpayers’ money to support suspected fraudsters, we make Matjhabeng local municipality our zero of the week.