A Limpopo municipality has allegedly spent R1 million on 24 laptops, with an estimated price tag of around R34,000 each. It’s unclear what kind of laptops or models they are.
Concerned opposition politicians at the Sekhukhune District Municipality are now demanding answers regarding the authorization process for the IT department’s expenditure.
Secretary-General of the Bolsheviks Party SA, Seun Mogotji, said they were eager to ensure transparency and accountability within the municipal administration, especially following the arrests of a number of officials over allegations of corruption.
“Can the executive mayor and the acting municipal manager bring us into confidence about how the municipality’s IT department was authorized to purchase 24 laptops at approximately R34,000 each?” said Mogotji.
Mogotji said it has come to light that the Intel Inspiron brand’s top-tier laptop model commands a price range of R14,000 to R16,000 per unit in the market.
He said the R988,000 price for 24 laptops not only raises eyebrows but leaves many to wonder how such valuations were even possible.
He said that with the ever-increasing reliance on technology in the public sector, it is imperative that the procurement of these laptops adhere to the highest standards of governance.
The mayor and acting municipal manager are guardians of public funds and should be called upon to shed light on the authorization process and put to rest any concerns regarding potential mismanagement or impropriety, added Mogotji.
“Sekhukhune district municipality officials are behaving as if the municipal funds are a ‘piggy bank.’ It seems anytime an official is in a financial fix, the first stop is the municipality’s funds. It seems the grey matter of municipality officials is swimming in corruption so much they cannot see anything wrong with ripping the municipality off,” Mogotji said.
Executives of the district municipality have come under scrutiny for their alleged cavalier handling of municipal funds, with news reports suggesting that the financial resources are meant for personal use.
As the public seeks answers and clamours for an explanation, the underlying motivations behind this decision remain shrouded in mystery.
Officials of the municipality have been accused of being deeply entrenched in corruption, with allegations suggesting their inability to acknowledge any ethical concerns surrounding the embezzlement of funds from the municipality.
When asked to provide clarity on the laptops, district spokesperson Kgetjepe Maredi has not answered his phone since Tuesday.
This is not the first time that the district municipality has made headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Members of the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation detained former municipal officer Andries Makgotho, 45, and service providers Bongani Masupye, 34, and Shivhadana Murovhi, 39, last week in Polokwane on suspicion of R5 million in fraud.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Matimba Maluleke, provincial spokesperson for the Hawks, the municipality awarded tenders to multiple businesses to offer security services totalling over R5 million.
He said that former municipal CFO and senior administration officer Kedibone Magagane are suspected of working in collusion with businesses that never provided services in order to steal money from taxpayers and divide it among themselves.
Maluleke added that the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation was tipped off about the situation, which prompted them to undertake a take-down operation in Groblersdal last week, which led to the arrests.
He said Magagane managed to elude capture at first but eventually turned herself in to the Hawks. The four suspects are expected to apply for bail at the Groblersdal Magistrate’s Court soon, according to Maluleke.
“The former CFO of the Sekhukhune District Municipality who has been on the run also handed himself to the Hawks and will also appear in court,” he said.
Sekhukhune District Municipality came into existence in December 2000, marking a significant milestone in the region’s administrative landscape. The district encompasses four local municipalities, each with its own unique characteristics and offerings.
These municipalities, namely Elias Motsoaledi, Ephraim Mogale, Fetakgomo Tubatse, and Makhuduthamaga, contribute to the vibrant tapestry of this diverse area.