Since last year’s ongoing municipal labour disputes in September, resulting in the forced resignation of Municipal Manager Bheki Khenisa in April, the municipality has become such a toxic work environment that municipal officials refuse to enter the civic centre without additional personal protection.
Www.mobserver.co.za is in possession of the municipality’s latest security invoice, issued on July 14, and settled in full by the municipality the next day.
The municipality paid a total of R1 162 500 for security personnel provided from 30/05/2022 to 30/06/2022.
Services included 15 guards at R2 500 each, tallying R37 500 per day over 31 days.
The municipality was also invoiced for 11 “short guns” and four rifles, in addition to four vehicles.
According to the invoice, the money was paid into a Middelburg FNB bank account.
The service provider, Masenyeletje Protection and Security Services, is, however, registered to an address in Tjibeng Village, Limpopo.
The company trades as PPP Protection and Security Services.
The appointment of personal security for, among others, Acting Municipal Manager Ms Thokozile Zulu, drew major backlash from municipal employees, resulting in further strike action.
Workers accused the administration of irregular expenditure at the municipality, which already has full-time security services at the civic centre and other municipal buildings.
The invoice was leaked from within the municipality.
The chairman of the Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC), DA councillor Hennie Niemann. says that a deviation had been approved for the expenses.
He added that several other deviations on the budget, including the appointment of PPP Protection and Security Services, will be considered by the council at a formal sitting on Tuesday next week.
Cllr Niemann says the approved deviations include unforeseen expenditure on external service providers like electrical, water and other contractors, utilised by the municipality during ongoing strikes since September.
It also includes unforeseen expenditure on materials, like electrical cables and water valves, allegedly vandalised by municipal employees during the strikes.
Mr Niemann says, “MPAC will thoroughly investigate any and all irregular municipal spending outside this particular scope of deviations, which the administration had no choice but to authorise, to ensure continuation of service delivery for residents.”
Www.mobserver.co.za reliably learnt that PPP Protection and Security services have been extended.