Lekwa Teemane Local Municipality Under Scrutiny

Pretoria - North West MEC for Local Government and Human Settlement, Collen Maine, says the department will take a step against Lekwa Teemane local municipality in the next 30 days, if the municipal council fails to act on the recommendations of a forensic report.

The department on Tuesday said the MEC has ordered the council of the municipality in Bloemhof to obey the audit recommendations, following the presentation of the damning report on investigations into the affairs of the municipality.

"The report recommends that a moratorium on disposal of land and that a disciplinary action be taken against officials who transgressed on disposal processes in accordance with the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA)," the department said.

Early in the year, the community of Boitumelong Township near Bloemhof in Lekwa Teemane local municipality levelled allegations of fraud, corruption, nepotism, and maladministration against the municipality, and staged violent protests in demand for a full blown investigation.

The department said the forensic audit followed the issues raised by the community in a memorandum.

According to the department, the forensic audit revealed that the appointment of one councillor was based on a reference letter despite the fact that the councillor was discharged from his job because of fraud.
It also revealed that:

* An employee of the municipality, who is also the brother of the then Mayor, was involved in a car accident whilst on duty and never faced any disciplinary hearing for drunken driving. The same official was appointed to a management position despite the fact that he did not meet the requirements;

* Charges of fraud and corruption against the then Mayor, Municipal Manager and two other councillors were withdrawn due to lack of evidence;

* Standards were lowered during the appointment of certain officials who did not meet the requirements;

* Goods and services with a transaction value of below R200 000 were procured without obtaining the required price quotations, as required by the supply chain management and treasury regulations;

* Goods and services with a transaction value above R200 000 were procured without inviting competitive bids as required by supply chain management regulations;

* Bids were not always evaluated by bid evaluations committees, which were composed of officials from affected units nor supply chain management practitioner as required;

* Competencies of middle managers were not assessed promptly in order to identify and address gaps and competency levels, as required by the Municipal regulations on minimum competency levels regulation; and

* All land that was sold in the last three years was sold at prices lower than valuation roll.

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