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Calls mount for councils to be dissolved over VBS scandal

By Molaole Montsho Time of article published Dec 5, 2018

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Rustenburg - Recalling only mayors for alleged involvement in the VBS Bank scandal is not enough, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in North West said on Wednesday.

"These mayors were not the sole responsible culprits for illegally investing service delivery money in VBS Bank. The municipal managers who serve as the accounting officers signed off on these illegal transfers, and in some cases, municipal managers were overruled through the appointment of acting municipal managers.

"In order to process such payments, resolutions from the council is a prerequisite, and in these instances the entire council who voted in favour of these illegal transfers are responsible," said DA premier candidate Joe McGluwa.

He was reacting to the ANC Provincial Task Team (PTT) that said it has resolved to recall the mayors of Mamusa and Maquassie Hills in the interest of service delivery. The mayor of Kagisano-Molopo Bitsa Lenkopane was also recalled.

The mayor of Madibeng, Jostina Mothibe, 45, the mayor of Moretele, Andries Monaheng, 52, the mayor of Mahikeng, Betty Diakanyo, 68, and the mayor of Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District municipality Boitumelo Mahlangu, 59, were recalled with immediate effect following investment in the VBS Bank.

Madibeng invested R31 million of their conditional grant, while Mahikeng invested R83 million, of which R23 million was from the municipal infrastructure grant while R60 million was from the municipal equitable share (it was an overpayment from the national department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs)

Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati district municipality invested R150 million, of which R100 million was from the regional infrastructure grant (RIG), R25 million from the equitable share-free basic services and R25 million was from the building fund.

Moretele local municipality invested R50 million from the 2017/2018 water services infrastructure grant.

The four municipalities have been found to have invested into VBS Mutual Bank contrary to  Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) as VBS Mutual Bank was not registered as a bank in terms of the Banks Act.

VBS collapsed this year and a subsequent report by the South African Reserve Bank found evidence of wide-scale looting, fraud and corruption totalling almost R2 billion.

McGluwa said recalling mayors was nothing but a smokescreen.

"While the ANC may recall its mayors, it is up to those mayors to tender their resignations, which will allow for vacancies to be declared and new mayors elected.

"As is known with ANC internal factionalism, these mayors, the bulk of whom fall in the Supra Mahumapelo faction, will not go quietly. In all likelihood, motions of no confidence will be tabled in these mayors, and if what we have seen in Matlosana local municipality, with the election, resignation and re-election of mayors in a merry-go-round fashion, it further destabilises local governance and hampers service delivery," he said.

The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) in North West welcomed the decision of the PTT to recall mayors but wanted municipal managers to be fired for their roles in the VBS investment.

" While we appreciate and are encouraged by its decisiveness on Venda Building Society known to be VBS Bank, we strongly believe that it’s not enough only to sack mayors while accounting officers being municipal managers roving offices and continue to harass our members," said provincial secretary Vincent Diphoko.

"It is with principles of good governance that municipal managers should be attended to, not only those involved in VBS but also known the scheme of corruption and maladministration that engulfed our municipalities." 

The union called on premier Job Mokgoro to reshuffle the provincial cabinet.

"Ultimately we believe that Premier will accede to resolves of the PTT and exercise his authority accordingly, as we hoping that he will reshuffle the cabinet that will affect public governance ethos." 

African News Agency (ANA)

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