Ramaphosa authorises SIU probe into troubled Limpopo municipality
Pretoria - President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorised a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe into allegations of corruption and maladministration at the Mogalakwena Municipality and 24 contracts awarded by Roads Agency Limpopo (RAL).
Ramaphosa also ordered that losses suffered by the state as a result of such actions be recovered.
In a statement, the SIU said Ramaphosa signed proclamation R180 of 2021, paving the way for the Chapter 9 institution to launch the investigation.
The embattled municipality was placed under administration against the backdrop of intense infighting which led to the total collapse of governance.
The feud included blocking damning reports by the Municipal Public Accounts Committee into corruption and other illegal activities from being tabled by some council members over the past three years.
Some of the allegations of maladministration also included R3 billion in unauthorised expenditure in the three years before being placed under administration.
It is believed that some of these allegations led to the murder of two senior municipal officials, committee chairperson Vaaltyn Kekana, 54, and ANC local leader Ralph Kganyane, 32, in 2019 to silence them because they had spoken out against corruption.
According to the auditor-general, the municipality also obtained unqualified,two adverse and two disclaimer audit reports over the last five years before being placed under administration.
This means that an auditor was unable to express a definite opinion either due to a lack of properly maintained financial records or the absence or insufficient support from the management.
A provincial government intervention team was established to oversee the administration process but failed to stabilise it.
Last month, the troubled municipality elected Frans Mokwele as its sixth mayor in less than 10 years. He replaced Andrina Matsemela, who was fired.
Among others, the proclamation authorised the SIU to look at alleged serious maladministration in connection with the affairs of the municipality.
It is authorised to look at the alleged:
* Serious maladministration in connection with the affairs of the Municipality.
* Improper or unlawful conduct by officials or employees of the municipality.
* Unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money or property.
* Unlawful, irregular or unapproved acquisitive act, transaction, measure or practice having a bearing upon State property.
* Intentional or negligent loss of public money or damage to public property.
In addition, Ramaphosa amended proclamation R12 of 2018 that gave powers for the SIU to investigate RAL.
* The procurement of or contracting for goods, works or services by or on behalf of the agency and payments made in respect thereof in a manner that was not fair.
* Maladministration in the affairs of the agency and any losses or prejudice suffered by the agency, or the state as a result of maladministration in relation to the increase of the fees of the chairperson of the agency’s board; and fees or salary.