Riyaz Patel

Parliament’s portfolio committee on cooperative governance has accused officials at the Mogalakwena Local Municipality in Limpopo of “sabotaging” the work of MPs.

Municipal officials and politicians were meant to arrange meetings with local ward councillors, civic organisations and ratepayers’ associations.

The Mogalakwena Municipality has received negative audit opinions over the past five years, with unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure standing at over R2.8bn.

The committee visited various municipalities in Limpopo this and last week to assess first hand the state of locals entities, with a special emphasis on those involved with VBS Bank.

The committee said very few people were invited to the stakeholder engagement.

“In all municipalities that the stakeholder interactions where scheduled, the meetings went ahead without a glitch. It was only in Mogalakwena that there was clear sabotage of the stakeholder engagement,” said committee chairperson Faith Muthambi.

“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, she said, Parliament’s rules compel the National Assembly to facilitate public involvement in the legislative and other processes of the assembly and its committees.

Muthambi said she believed the municipality deliberately prevented the committee from engaging with the community “because people are trying to hide the impact of the malfeasance happening within that municipality.” 

The Committee also demanded to know why the mayor had given the municipal manager three months of study leave, despite the fact that the municipal manager only joined in April 2019.

“This deprived the municipality of stable leadership, which it needs to deal with its challenges.”

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