EXECUTIVE mayor Stevens Mokgalapa addresses the media on his 100 days in office yesterday, where he gave himself a 9 out of 10 rating. Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa wants to pull the plug on the modus operandi used by the “business forum” to siphon off money from the municipality.

In the past, the forum affiliates have been accused of demanding to be allocated at least 30% of infrastructure projects approved by the City. Their tactic allowed them to benefit from budgets set aside for particular projects even before they could be implemented.

Mokgalapa believed the introduction of a new policy to regulate the practice would serve as a deterrent to perpetrators.

On numerous occasions, the City had blamed the forum for incomplete projects or for stalling service delivery in general.

In March, city manager Dr Moeketsi Mosola had a public spat with forum members, whom he accused of having held him hostage after he refused to accede to their demands.

Forum spokesperson Thato Monene then hit back, saying it was untrue and labelled Mosola a “coward”.

Speaking to the Pretoria News, Mokgalapa maintained that the forum operation was still problematic.

He said he was working on devising some creative ways, such as the formulation of a policy to deal with the practice.

Labelling the practice “criminal”, he said: “I am trying to work on a policy that will regulate this (practice).

“What do we mean by that 30% and who has access to it? For me the 30% makes sense if we say for local skills development and for training, and not for just thugs to come and say for you to work in the community you must give us 30%. It can’t work like that.”

He, however, said the practice was not necessarily in line with City policies, saying it was a gentlemen’s agreement bred during the era of the ANC-led municipality under then mayor Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa.

“I’ve asked if we have that policy that talks about the 30% of the project budget to be ploughed into the community. I asked the economic development and the supply chain management office to give me such a policy. There is no such a policy,” he said.

In some instances, Mokgalapa said, forum leaders had made the same demands from private developers.

“It now becomes worse when they are going to private developers. What it will mean is that the private developers will be scared to do projects in the City. So it has massive ramifications and impact on our local economy.”

He said recently the City cancelled road construction in Ward 25 in Soshanguve after the business forum said it wouldn’t go ahead until they had been given what was due to them.

Mokgalapa said there was need to sensitise communities about the problems emanating from interference by the forum.

Pretoria News