Pretoria - Further allegations of the abuse of the municipality’s R60 million expanded public works programmes have surfaced, with the DA in Tshwane alleging that some councillors demanded sexual favours in exchange for jobs.
The party also claimed it had lost members in wards as they had joined the ANC to have access to the jobs.
The Pretoria News reported earlier that some councillors apparently gave jobs from the Vat Alles project to people in exchange for their joining certain ANC branches and to secure votes for councillors.
The R60m project was launched by Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa early this year to create 3 000 cleaning jobs for the unemployed around the city.
To ensure the poorest of the poor were prioritised for the job opportunities, ward councillors could select people from the municipality’s indigent database for recommendation.
However, ANC councillors who spoke on condition of anonymity - and now the DA councillor André van der Walt, who first raised the issue during last month’s council meeting - have said many councillors are not using the project for its intended purpose.
The municipality has denied the claims that councillors were using the Vat Alles project to force the poor to take up party membership in exchange for jobs. It said the employment of everybody in the project was above aboard and its own investigation had proved the allegations false.
“The office of the member of the mayoral committee for transport is aware of these allegations. Investigations were conducted and they came out to be false allegations,” the municipality said in a statement.
“Councillors are appointing community members, who need jobs, and not based on their political affiliation. Beneficiaries are not forced to join any political party.”
But the DA in the council has cast doubt on the municipality’s investigation, with Van der Walt claiming he was not even interviewed during the investigation.
Van der Walt told the council last month there was strong evidence that the jobs were being channelled through ANC branch structures in the region, and those not affiliated to the party were marginalised.
He said yesterday that he had evidence of ward councillors even demanding sexual favours in exchange for the jobs, and that residents had to produce membership cards to get selected for the project.
Reports from the wards showed this was common across the city, he said. In one ward, the DA had lost 20 members so they could join the ANC to have access to the Vat Alles jobs, he said. “I have people willing to make affidavits to this effect, but I will only do so when a proper investigation is being conducted instead of jeopardising people’s livelihoods when nothing will be done.”
The municipality says those employed under the Vat Alles project were paid R100 a day on a six-month contract. The project, managed by the council’s economic development department, employs 2 986 people.