The Fetakgomo-Tubatse Local Municipality in Limpopo has rejected allegations that Executive Mayor Eddie Maila travels in official vehicles worth more than the amount allocated for municipal leaders.
This week, opposition councillor Seun Mogotji, from the Bolsheviks Party SA in the Sekhukhune area, approached the Hawks unit, asking them to investigate the mayor for contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.
Mogotji accused Maila of cruising around in two BMW vehicles, each worth more than the R700 000 budget allocated to municipal office-bearers across the country.
In a sworn statement submitted to the Hawks, Mogotji said his party was formed to expose corruption and maladministration in all the four municipalities in Sekhukhune, where they enjoy several seats.
“I am displeased to report to you that this mayor has misused municipal funds in clear contravention of the laws of the land by buying a black BMW X5 and a white BMW 3 series sedan as his official fleet. It remains public knowledge that he is the only mayor who uses a fleet contrary to the rules,” said Mogotji.
Mogotji, the secretary of the Sekhukhune-based opposition party, claimed that municipal manager Mogoramedi Makgata was also complicit in the unlawful purchases of the vehicles.
“The municipal manager is also not immune to the commission of the offence. The threshold limit for vehicle purchases relating to official use by political office-bearers must not exceed R700 000 or 70% of the total annual remuneration package for the different grades of municipalities,” he said.
According to Mogotji, Maila’s lifestyle was a spit in the faces of Fetakgomo-Tubatse community members who live in abject poverty.
He further claimed that Maila recently lied to President Cyril Ramaphosa about spending 100% on incomplete service delivery projects.
“On the 14th of July 2023, President C Ramaphosa held an imbizo in the local municipality of Fetakgomo-Tubatse. The mayor deliberately falsified information regarding the capital performance of the municipality, much to the shock of community members who reside in the municipality and are leading a life of squalor as a result of lack of service delivery,” he said.
Mogotji said he would not rest until all relevant government institutions attend to his allegations against Maila and the ANC-led local council in Fetakgomo-Tubatse.
When confronted about the allegations, Maila said there was no basis for the claims against him, but refused to explain the issue involving his official vehicles.
“There is nothing that makes me happier than someone who says, ‘I will involve law enforcement agencies.’ I cannot be intimidated by people who are haters of progress. The spokesperson of the municipality will handle such matters as they belong to the council and not to the mayor.
“The law says, ‘Councillors are restricted from participating in bid committees and the purchase of vehicles.’ So, I am not the proper person to comment,” he said.
However, Maila said he was ready to demonstrate that his service track record speaks for itself.
“They are having a problem that we spent 100% on the municipal infrastructure grant. They must come to the ground and check for themselves. We need to help them understand that spending 100% of the grant doesn’t mean the projects are completed. These are multi-year projects.
“When dealing with service delivery you don’t stop because the budget is not enough. You use what you have until the next allocation. We have resurrected electricity projects that had been off for eight years, and now they are working. We have only been here since 2021,” said Maila.
Fetakgomo-Tubatse spokesperson Thabiso Mokwena said the municipality would allow law enforcement processes to unfold before commenting further on the matter.
“The municipality will fully cooperate with the law enforcement agencies, and therefore we cannot comment so that we give them space and time to do their investigation as the matter is sub judice,” he said.
Hawks provincial spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Matimba Malaluleke confirmed they were investigating the matter.
“As the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, we can confirm that we have received a complaint in relation to the allegations of corruption at Fetakgomo-Tubatse Municipality, and we are investigating it,” said Maluleke.