North West Standing Committee on Provincial Public Accounts (Scopa), chairperson Job Dliso. Picture: Supplied
Johannesburg - The North West Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) and law enforcement agencies were on Monday locked in a meeting to discuss investigations into allegations of financial misconduct in provincial departments and municipalities.

The meeting was attended by the SAPS and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks).

This was after the Department of Human Settlements erroneously transferred R134 million to Bojanala Platinum District Municipality instead of the Rustenburg Local Municipality.

The error led to the provincial treasury withholding the district municipality’s equitable share and this resulted in the municipality failing to pay workers’ salaries.

Committee chairperson Job Dliso said: “The committee treats the matter seriously and will ensure that decisive action is taken against those implicated and even a criminal case is opened.

“We want to assure all the affected parties and the community that no stone will be left unturned, they must just exercise patience.”

The municipal manager in Bojanala, Pogiso Shikwane, and chief financial officer Olga Ndlovu, have been suspended for their alleged role which landed the municipality in financial difficulties, but opposition parties said mayor Fetsang Molosiwa knew about the money and gave instructions as to how it should be spent.

The DA welcomed the decision of the provincial Scopa to enlist the services of the anti-corruption task team to probe the matter.

DA caucus leader Winston Rabotapi called on Scopa to summon the leadership and accounting officer of Bojanala after they failed to pay salaries for Sep tember and October, causing employees to embark on disruptive protest action.

“The municipality’s monthly salary bill of R18m puts it above 50% of the budget, which leaves little funds for other services to be rendered.

“The rental of all buildings where the municipality is housing its officials has been outstanding for months, software licences and permits are also not being paid,” Rabotapi said.

He said during the Scopa meeting, it came to light that the Department of Co-operative Governance only managed to locate the payment three weeks after it was transferred.

“This erroneous payment reeks of criminality; which supports our call for criminal investigations to be instituted for violations of the Public Finance Management Act and Municipal Finance Management Act, under the provisions of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, which compels those in positions of authority, and any person who becomes aware of corrupt activities, to report it to law enforcement agencies.”

He said his party would be monitoring this matter and would continue to fight to ensure that the livelihoods of the employees of the municipality returns to normal, and the funds illegally utilised be recovered.

Additional reporting by ANA

Political Bureau