Ramaphosa authorises SIU probe into graft at Limpopo municipality

09 March 2021 - 14:29
Mogalakwena local municipality in Limpopo is under administration after serious corruption allegations over the past decade. Stock photo.
Mogalakwena local municipality in Limpopo is under administration after serious corruption allegations over the past decade. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/ LE MOAL OLIVIER

President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorised the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe alleged corruption and maladministration at the troubled Mogalakwena local municipality in the Limpopo town of Mokopane.

Ramaphosa signed a proclamation authorising the SIU to investigate corruption allegations running into millions of rand and maladministration at the municipality.

Mogalakwena is under administration after serious corruption allegations over the past decade which have resulted in at least six mayors being shown the door.

Some of the allegations of maladministration include R3bn in unauthorised expenditure in the past three financial years.

Ramaphosa’s proclamation gives the SIU powers to investigate financial transactions at the municipality dating back to April 2016.

According to the proclamation, the SIU will probe:

  • serious maladministration in connection with the affairs of the municipality;
  • improper or unlawful conduct by officials or employees of the municipality;
  • unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money or property;
  • unlawful, irregular or unapproved acquisitive acts, transactions, measures or practices having a bearing upon state property; and
  • intentional or negligent loss of public money or damage to public property.

The investigation would be undertaken in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

In addition, the SIU has also been granted further powers to investigate the affairs of the Roads Agency Limpopo (RAL).

The RAL investigation would look into the procurement of goods and services, increases in the fees paid to its board chair, payment of salaries and fees of board members “contrary to applicable legislation, manuals, guidelines, practice notes, circulars or instructions issued by the National Treasury or the relevant provincial treasury”.

The Mokgalwakwena municipality in under the control of the ANC.

ANC Limpopo secretary Soviet Lekganyane welcomed the proclamation, saying it would go a long way towards fixing the problems at Mogalakwena.

If there is any phenomenon that is contesting the ANC in the elections, it is corruption.
Soviet Lekganyane

“We know there are very serious challenges for a period of the past 10 years,” Lekganyane said. “We just hope that this will not only be an investigation but will help give people of Magalakwena confidence that their issues will be dealt with, because they have been a laughing stock.”

He said there were five forensic reports that exposed serious challenges, which led to the decision to place the municipality under administration. These reports, he said, have now been tabled to the council after delays, and that they know who is involved and what they did.

“We know who in the ANC has done business in the municipality. We know who has been implicated in those reports. We know which officials have their family members employed in the municipality. We know,” Lekganyane said.

“What is very good about the SIU is that in the past 12 months we have seen them bring back the confidence of the public. So we will wait. But as we wait for their investigation it’s not that we don’t know. We know because we have received reports. We know why things are the way they are.

“We have made a commitment at our conference that we are going to do the best we can to restore the image and credibility of the ANC. If there is any phenomenon that is contesting the ANC in the elections, it is corruption.”

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