The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) has called for the immediate suspension of JB Marks Municipality Mayor Kgotso Khumalo and the municipal manager of the troubled municipality.
“We are here today as a matter of right in the full exercise of our constitutional right to protest the behavior of maladministration, corruption and fraud which appears oblivious to the deepening levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment (sic),” the organisation said in a memorandum of demands dated January 22.
“Since this administration came to power through the back door, there have been deliberate attempts by the management to cripple and render the municipality dysfunctional, and thereby causing the municipality to not deliver services in terms of its constitutional mandate,” the memorandum further states.
“As a result of the above grievances, the community demands the immediate suspension of the municipal manager by council for failing to combat fraud, corruption or maladministration activities in the municipality and the immediate suspension of the Executive Mayor for misusing public funds.”
The municipality, which comprises Ventersdorp and Potchefstroom in North West, is currently under administration following allegations of fraud, corruption and maladministration.
An administrator was sent to the municipality in August last year following a five-page terms of reference notice, signed and approved by MEC Gordon Kegakilwe in terms of Section 139 of the Constitution. This allows provincial governments to intervene in the running of municipalities, News24 reported.
This was followed by a revelation that about R180,000 from a municipal trust fund, intended to help boost small and medium businesses in a North West town, was used to pay for seven JB Marks council officials to attend the 2019 Durban July.
The MEC responded to council in a letter dated November 19. In it he noted that, in his capacity as MEC, he had written a letter to attorneys Willem Coetzee Inc, seeking a report into the activities of the trust account, which had money received from a mining rights holder.
North West Cogta spokesperson Dineo Thapelo told News24 on Friday that the municipality had indicated in a letter dated December 23, 2019 that they would “process the MEC’s request at the next sitting”.
The list of demands in the memorandum are as follows:
- Since the municipality is placed under Section 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution, we hereby demand the placement of the Administrator to take control of the municipal affairs as outlined by the MEC of Local Government with the terms of reference;
- Immediate suspension of the Municipal Manager by Council for failing to combat fraud, corruption or maladministration activities in the municipality;
- Immediate suspension of the Executive Mayor for misusing public funds;
- That due to the failure of the current political leadership to steer the municipality into the right direction be in terms of providing services to the communities, the mayor, speaker, municipal manager and chief financial officer of the JB Marks Local Municipality be removed with immediate effect, and that we be provided with the opportunity of competitive principled political leadership and a competent municipal manager and chief financial officer who will be able to prioritise the interests of the JB Marks community;
- That all the officials and politicians implicated in wrongdoing be investigated and subsequently brought to book;
- That the public monies embezzled by these officials and politicians be recovered immediately;
- That this memorandum of demands be responded to in 14 days of the date of receipt;
- That provincial Treasury conduct forensic investigation on all allegations of fraud and corruption in JB Marks Municipality;
- That the executive mayor and municipal manager be held accountable on irregularities and maladministration in the Municipality;
- That the police conduct an investigation on why cases of corruption and fraud were not being concluded, especially by the DPCI in the province. There are cases that are more than two years long that are being delayed in the DPCI pertaining to JB Marks Municipality;
- Action be taken on the police officers that are colluding with criminals.
Thapelo confirmed receipt of the demands on Friday and indicated that the memorandum was “receiving attention”.
“The MEC received the memorandum on January 22, 2020, and yes the municipality is still under administration,” she concluded.
JB Marks Municipality spokesperson Victor Boqo referred News24 to Cogta for comment.