By Tim Mpakathe – Chief Whip Mantsopa Caucus
26 July 2022
It is clear that the ANC Mayor of Mantsopa Municipality, Cllr Mamsie Tsoene, does not have the political will to hold the administration to account. Since May 2016, Mantsopa municipality has been wrecked with one scandal after the other.
It is now time that Tsoene is removed as a member of the executive council.
The problems started with the findings in the Public Protector’s report that Mantsopa Municipality has since 2017/18 been charging residents higher electricity tariffs than approved by council.
In 2018, the Mantsopa administration overpaid a contractor, Nomano Trading, with R2.4 million. Today, these funds have not yet been recuperated as the lawyers refuse to release the attachment order due to them still awaiting payment from Mantsopa for services rendered.
The Mayor also refused to act against the Municipal Manager after a report was tabled, substantiating allegations of mismanagement. These allegations were brought to council by the DA.
Then there was the scandal when funds were paid to account numbers other than those belonging to the intended suppliers. The forensic findings that the municipality’s computer system is compromised and steps to prevent this from happening again, have not all been introduced.
Mantsopa Municipality, under the Mayor, has not been able to successfully implement a recovery plan supported by provincial treasury. The billing system has been in a shamble since 2016 as administration is still unable to get out accurate service accounts to all Mantsopa residents on a monthly basis.
With a collection rate hovering around 40%, far below the national norm of 95%, the municipality often defaults on paying off the R250 million Eskom debt, not to mention the bulk water suppliers and third parties.
Municipal employees are often left vulnerable as medical aids and pension fund payments are not honored.
The biggest question is centered around the tabling of the AG report for the 2020/21 financial year, with the financial statements never making their way to Council before the AG saw them. The financial statements were handed in to the AG 7 months late at the end of March 2022. Unfortunately council had no insight into these statements, and are awaiting the AG findings in anticipation.
The DA will introduce a motion to remove Tsoene from the executive committee under the Systems Act ss 53 at the next council sitting. As the official opposition in Council, the DA will continue to hold those in leadership positions to account.