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Pretoria - The Gamagara municipality in the Northern Cape, where pupils missed seven months of classes in 2012 because of protests, is riddled with maladministration and lacks policy.
These are some of the findings in a report released by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on the municipality on Wednesday.
Madonsela investigated the area after one high school and two primary schools were closed by residents, leaving 2 583 pupils locked out of their classrooms. The residents demanded the resignation of Gamagara Local Municipality mayor Maria Diniza for not erecting a bridge. They also claimed the department of education had not provided textbooks. Madonsela’s report indicates that the textbook claim could not be substantiated.
Diniza died last week, so Madonsela had to rewrite her report because “obviously the municipality cannot take any action against her”.
“Children in Olifantshoek lost a whole year of learning in 2012. A few Grade 12s were able to write and the rest are repeating their grades. We should take collective responsibility for failing the children of Olifantshoek,” Madonsela said. But she praised police in the area, saying they were the only department that gave her “meaningful co-operation”.
On construction of the bridge and roads maintenance, the investigation found the municipality upgraded only 1.3km of the 14km of access roads from gravel into tar because of a lack of funds. She found the municipality mismanaged the project.
A project for building 200 houses was abandoned in 2009. The houses were left without windows and some with only the foundation built by Lebogang Afrika Suppliers.
During the investigation, Madonsela worked with the auditor-general and it was found that in the 2010/11 financial year, there was R6.4 million in irregular expenditure. This rose to R40m in 2011/12.
The other findings are:
* Diniza used her own vehicle for official trips for five months after getting an official car. In August 2010 and in June 2012, two amounts - R5 000 and R10 000 - were deposited into Diniza’s bank account for fuel. But there was no proof that the money was indeed used for fuel and there was no claim for it. Another R5 000 was deposited into her driver’s account in August 2010.
* The municipality’s name was spelt incorrectly on 2 000 calendars procured for R27 982.50. Some of the calendars were corrected, but the municipality failed to claim back money for those not corrected.
* The municipality paid R25 000 towards the funeral of the Speaker of the GaSegonyana Municipality, contrary to the indigent policy of the municipality which restricted the contributions to R1 300 to residents of the Gamagara municipality.
* A security contractor was overpaid R36 000.
* Five ward councillors were fired without proper procedure, while the others were paid their R1 000 stipends in cash instead of the money being deposited into their bank accounts.
Madonsela recommended further investigation into the procurement processes for the renovations to a house where the municipal manager lived.
The municipality must also build a bridge and fill all senior management posts in six months.