A special council sitting in the embattled Sekhukhune district municipality in Limpopo has ordered its executive mayor, Keamotseng Ramaila, to institute disciplinary action against its acting municipal manager, Mpho Mofokeng.
The move follows allegations that Mofokeng, five directors and managers working in the municipality were involved in the irregular awarding of Covid-19 emergency intervention tenders amounting to R26 million. The irregular appointment of the companies allegedly took place in June, while the mayor was away.
The money was meant to be used to drill and refurbish boreholes, cement pipelines and for reticulation in several villages hard-hit by drought in an effort to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Mofokeng and the officials are accused of having signed for the appointment of the companies without following procedure.
It is alleged that Mofokeng, together with two members of the mayoral committee and two managers in sections that deal with municipal business, had agreed to siphon off funds, using the Covid-19 emergency intervention projects.
“But there was a dispute after Mofokeng allegedly forwarded only companies owned by his cronies to deliver the projects,” a source alleged.
The Citizen can reveal that when Ramaila came back from leave, he was briefed about the matter and immediately stopped the process. He later approached the Limpopo High Court in Polokwane to guide him on procedures to follow when dealing with Covid-19 and procurement processes.
But yesterday Mofokeng refused to go down without a fight.
“I am prepared to comply with all disciplinery processes as required by law. But that doesn’t mean I agree with the accusations they are levelling against me,” he said.
“There is nothing wrong I did. All these companies appointed were chosen from a panel of contractors. That means they have already undergone a supply chain managent processes. Why then now accuse me of failing to follow SCM processes,” he asked.
Mofokeng said he was also baffled that he was the only section 57 -manager placed on special leave following the accusations. He said he had expected the other three officials who also appended their signatures to face similar treatment.
“I think there is more to this than meets the eye because from where I am standing, politics are at play,” he said.
The insunuation by Mofokeng was backed up by Bolsheviks political party, which has been fuming on the matter. The party has since laid charges of corruption against the municipality with the police, the Hawks and Special Investigating Unit. Party acting general secretary, Seun Mogotji said Mofokeng was just used as a sacrificial lamb.
“He is about to be purged by politicians who are gearing up for the next year’s ANC elective regional conference. We harbour a belief that the municipality is playing mind games, using the public purse to maim those they don’t agree with politically,” said Mogotj.
The district has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons, with the theft of municipal funds topping the list. Between November 2018 to date, the municipality has lost R19.6 million through irregular payment of service providers.