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Bekkersdal community leaders implicated in corruption scandal

They stand accused of having a hand in a massive R1.2 Billion corruption scandal.

The very same community leaders that are very publicly accusing Westonaria Executive Mayor Nonkoliso Tundzi and her management team of corruption and nepotism, have now been implicated in a tender corruption scandal to the tune of a whopping R1,2 billion.

The accusations stem from the controversial Bekkersdal Urban Renewal Project, which was meant to upgrade the Bekkersdal area.

The funds allocated to the project allegedly has dried up and very little is known about what the money was used for.

Media reports have indicated that some of the community leaders charged with overseeing the project, used their positions to influence which contractors were appointed, thereby assuring that they would get a cut of the funding.

The Herald managed to track down one of the community leaders implicated in the scandal.

Greater Westonaria Concerned Residents Association (GWCRA) representative, Father Ratsoeu, is adamant that the allegations of corruption are aimed at discrediting the GWCRA.

“These allegations hold no water,” says Ratsoeu.

“They were dreamed up by Tundzi and her cronies who aim to discredit us in the eyes of the community.”

According to Ratsoeu, he was in no way involved with the handling of funds for the Bekkersdal Renewal Project and could not possibly have influenced decisions with regard to which contractors were used.

“I was the secretary of the Bekkersdal Development Forum (BDF) at the time and my role was merely to coordinate the projects that were underway at that time and ensure that local community members benefitted through employment in the project by the various contractors,” says Ratsoeu.

He adds that he has since resigned from the BDF.

“I never benefitted financially. All I received was a R4 000 stipend.”

Rumours abound that Ratsoeu and some of the other members of the GWCRA were sub-contractors for some of the projects under the Bekkersdal Renewal Project.

Allegations are that they did not use the funding received for their projects, meaning that the projects were never completed.

The Herald spoke to Westonaria Executive Mayor Nonkoliso Tundzi about Ratsoeu’s allegation that she made up the allegations of corruption in order to discredit the GWCRA in the community.

According to Tundzi, the leaders of the Greater Westonaria Concerned Residents Association (GWCRA) are completely misleading the community.

“Despite the fact that I never said anything about the corruption scandal, I can say that these community leaders are bitter over the fact that they were cut off from the forum and that meant that they wouldn’t get the benefits anymore.

“The MEC’s office, from where the funds for the Bekkersdal Renewal Project came, decided that it was wasteful to work with the community members overseeing the project as they had to pay them a stipend of R4 000 per person.

“They opted instead to deal directly with the Municipality.

“As a result Ratsoeu and some of his friends lost out on the monthly stipends and what ever benefits came with being part of the committee,” says Tundzi.

She adds that she believes this is why Ratsoeu and others formed the GWCRA and started whipping the community up against the municipality.

“They are misleading the community and having them burn down public property to the tune of millions.

“How I see it is that they are trying to set us back where service delivery is concerned,” says Tundzi.

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