Merafong City local municipality staff at pay points have “elected to use money meant for service delivery to fund their personal affairs, turning the municipality into a loan shark”, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.
A report on the virtually collapsed Merafong City local municipality painted a shocking picture of the current state of affairs, DA Gauteng MPL and Merafong constituency head Ina Cilliers said.
“The report indicates that staff at various pay points across the cash-strapped municipality are sticking their hands in the till for various dubious reasons. Staff at the pay points have elected to use money meant for service delivery to fund their personal affairs, turning the municipality into a loan shark. For example, at the Fochville pay point, a cashier admitted to taking R1220 in order to go to Bloemfontein, claiming this was an ‘advance on his salary’,” she said.
Other such instances included at Old Kokosi, where money bags were found stuffed in a microwave oven. The cashier admitted to taking money saying she needed it for her father’s funeral; at Blybank, the cashier admitted to taking money and promised to pay back the money; and at New Kokosi, nearly R67 000 went missing and the cashier could not give reasons for this discrepancy. The total amount looted came to R340 000.
The report stated that the reason for the lack of control was due to staff shortages, poor supervision, and a shortage of vehicles, which had not been allocated to the area since 2014. As a result, the municipality had now temporarily closed certain pay points, making it even harder for the municipality to collect much-needed revenue, Cilliers said.
Staff implicated in the till looting had been suspended but no disciplinary action had been instituted, nor had any arrests been made, as was the practice in the City of Johannesburg where corruption was not tolerated, said the DA.
“I have tried on a number of occasions to bring this looting to the attention of co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Paul Mashatile, because he is either not fully aware of what is happening in Merafong or he is turning a blind eye,” she said.
The DA would continue to mount pressure on the African National Congress to ensure that corruption was rooted out and those found stealing faced the full might of the law.
“I will again raise this matter in the House [the Gauteng legislature] because the longer it persists the more the people of Merafong suffer. The people of Merafong deserve a government that shows zero tolerance to corruption,” Cilliers said.
– African News Agency (ANA)