Ramotswedi Rammutla, 11 September 2020
Mahikeng: Following allegations of misappropriation of COVID 19 relief funding the Executive Mayor, Justice Makolomakwa of the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality faces a motion of no confidence from the Economic Freedom Fighter as well as rumors of a call to step down by factions within his party the African National Congress. The community outcry over the multimillion expenditure, has seen the municipality deny any claims of corruption; calling it unforeseen and unavoidable expenditure. The spending which was estimated at 93 million over four months includes spending on water and sanitation, accommodation and PPE and sanitizers.
“The Municipality in the 2019/20 had budgeted R 60 million for Operations and Maintenance which is inclusive of Water Material, maintenance of Water and Sanitation Infrastructure, therefore these plans were in the approved budget of the Municipality and only spent R 52, 574,838.12 thereof “said Makolomakwa in a virtual media briefing.
Makolomakwa also added that municipality recorded unforeseen and unavoidable expenditure on accommodation totaling R 2,766,948.01 million, this he said was for officials of water services deployed in various Local Municipalities as they could not travel due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Municipality funded through the Vote of the Executive Mayor and that of the Municipal Manager. Disinfections of municipal facilities – R 152,325.00 thousand, the service was procured before the delivery of disinfectors of which thereafter, the municipality was using the services of fire and rescue unit. The large purchases included Sanitizers at R 1,729,850.00 million, Masks at R 515, 869.57 thousand, Latex gloves at R 80,217.39 thousand, Soaps at R 480,000.00 thousand and Non-contact thermometers at R 84,992.70 thousand at a total of R5,810,202.67 million.
“It is important to note that National Treasury issued a directive to all Municipalities to consider reprioritization of 2019/20 MIG funds for the purpose of curbing the COVID-19 pandemic. It is therefore against this background, that the Municipality has prioritized projects amounting to R39, 500 million, and only R32 million was approved leaving an outstanding project of R7,500 million unapproved. Just a reminder, R32 million projects will be prioritized against R 299, 499 million of the MIG which was initially allocated to the municipality at the beginning of the financial year” reported Makolomakwa.
The EFF has rejected the response calling it misleading as the report deferred from that which was presented in the council meeting. “It appears that the mayor misled the public and the media as he presented a different report than the one that was presented in a council sitting. To perpetuate his lies, the mayor claims that officials could not be kept under one roof as they were more than 50, but report states that accommodation was booked for 42 officials in Delareyville, Setlagole, Disaneng and Lichtenburg and does not mention anything about officials being booked in Zeerust. This proves that more than R27 million spent in a month for booking accommodation for officials remains unaccounted for” said EFF regional secretary, Dintwe Mekgwe.