Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Saturday appealed to the Bapo-Ba-Mogale community to stop fighting among themselves as she gave them a progress report on her investigation into the alleged looting of the community’s bank account.
“Just all calm down, there is no reason to fight…as long as we do not know who did what, there will always be suspicions.”
Her appeal came after a community member, Kgomotso Morare, showed her the scars on his head which he suffered when he was allegedly hacked with a panga two weeks ago.
He was allegedly attacked at a meeting by a group of people accusing him of holding an illegal meeting.
Another resident, Dinah Sello, appealed to Madonsela to speed up the investigation and release a final report into the affairs of the community so that the fighting between opposing groups could stop.
“You left us empty by not releasing the final report. We do not want to wait for six month to get the report, please release the report so that fighting could stop,” said Sello.
Madonsela said she would released an exit report by October 14, before she leaves office when her term as public protector came to an end.
The final report was expected to be released in December or January to give forensic investigator Godfrey Rangongo and quanity surveyor Andre Moolman a chance to verify the information collected.
The community asked the Public Protector in 2012, to investigate allegations of systematic looting of the collective resources of the community, including funds held in the so-called “D account” – an account into which mining companies pay royalties to communities on whose ancestral land they mine.
Madonsela was also asked to look into whether all of the royalty payments due to them from mining company, Lonmin, and other businesses mining on the community’s land were paid.
Madonsela was further asked to probe the alleged abuse of resources relating to the construction of Kgosi Bob Mogale’s palace.
On her last visit in July, Madonsela told the community that they had R721,000 in the account when the Auditor-General audited it in 1994.
Over a period of 20 years, the funds in the account grew to more than R617 million, which was made up of R392 million in deposits and R224 million in interest earned. By the end of 2014, the balance in the account had dropped to just over R495,000.
In 2014, the community stopped using the account, preferring a newly established investment wing for its resources. Since then, about R40 million in royalties were received. Most of the money has since been spent.
“What this means is that, basically, all of the money earned has been spent,” the Public Protector said, adding that the investigation team was aware of the identity of some of the officials that had been authorising expenditure and that some of them were still in office and would be held to account.
She added that throughout the last 20 years the North West government was accountable for the expenditure of R617 million in the account, paying suppliers directly for goods and services in line with a budget presented at the beginning of each year.
– African News Agency (ANA)