15 February 2018 Read: 777
The Maruleng Local Municipality (MLM) in Hoedspruit has suspended its Municipal Manager, Peter Lethole, during a special sitting last week on Thursday. This was for allegedly issuing a cleaning tender worth R18 million without following appropriate procedures and to increase his salary without the approval of the council. The matter has since been reported to the Hawks and investigations are ongoing.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) chief whip at Maruleng, Marvin Lewele, accused the municipality of using the municipal resources to reward members of the ANC who took part in the preparations for the national conference in December at Nasrec. He cited the recent appointment of traffic officers and appointments at the office of the mayor and corporate department as some examples of graft in action.
Lewele added that the other matter that gives his party sleepless nights in the municipality, is the cleaning tender worth R18 million which was awarded without being advertised, and that the municipal manager increased his salary without the approval of the council. He said that they opened the case with the police for corruption against the municipal manager.
“We requested a special sitting of the council where the issue was discussed, but we could not agree. We then proposed for another special sitting of the council to have the matter discussed after which Lethole was suspended.”
Head of Communication for the municipality, John Seokoma, said though acknowledging the problems at Maruleng, it would be appropriate if politicians were called to respond on political matters. He said since the matter was investigated by the police he could not comment on the matter. The municipal manager has been suspended for 14 days since last Thursday.
Municipal mayor, Dipuo Thobejane, said the meeting was not forced as the EFF is claiming and, it was held accordingly. She dismissed claims that the letter to ask for the special sitting of the council to discuss corruption charges was ignored by her office. Thobejane further said that the municipal manager had been relieved of his duties for only 14 days while internal processes are on. She said an acting MM would be appointed, but however refused to comment on charges the municipal boss is facing because the case is sub-judice. This happens at the time municipalities throughout the country are due to hold council sittings to adjust budgets in line with Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA). Municipal budgets are adopted towards the end of June and reviewed in February.
— Jan Mafetsa