MPs slam Mogalakwena municipality's 'sabotage' during VBS investigations

18 October 2019 - 15:56 By Naledi Shange
VBS Mutual Bank in Thohoyandou, Limpopo.
VBS Mutual Bank in Thohoyandou, Limpopo.

Parliament's portfolio committee on co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) on Friday said that its efforts to uncover how the VBS Mutual Bank scandal had affected the Mogalakwena municipality in Limpopo had been "sabotaged".

In a press statement, committee chair Faith Muthambi said members embarked on a four-day visit to the affected municipalities and found co-operation everywhere except in Mogalakwena.

"This has robbed the committee of the opportunity to interact with communities they represent and is a direct attack to the constitutional imperative of public participation.

"Furthermore, parliament's rules compel the National Assembly to facilitate public involvement in the legislative and other processes of the assembly and its committees," said Muthambi.

The committee said it noted that the municipality was "dysfunctional".

It was "unable to deliver on its basic functions", the committee said.

Listing some of the acts it considered sabotage, the committee said it found it questionable that the mayor had given the municipal manager three months of study leave. This was despite the fact that the municipal manager only joined in April 2019.

"This also deprived the municipality of stable leadership, which it needs to deal with its challenges," the committee said.

"Furthermore, the appointment of the acting municipal manager goes against Section 59 of the Municipal Systems Act, in that the appointment is set for over the 20 days as set out in legislation."

The committee highlighted that the municipality was a troubled one, having received unqualified, disclaimer, and adverse audit findings for the past five financial years.

It recorded over R2m in unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.