/ 25 May 2011

‘Some kind of politics’ behind Midvaal probe, says DA

'some Kind Of Politics' Behind Midvaal Probe

The Democratic Alliance has questioned the motives behind a request by President Jacob Zuma for a Special Investigating Unit probe into Gauteng’s Midvaal municipality.

South African Broadcasting Corporation news reported on Tuesday that Zuma had authorised the probe into allegations of corruption, maladministration and misappropriation of funds.

This came days after the ruling African National Congress again lost the municipality to the DA in the local government elections.

Midvaal Mayor Tim Nast said the Auditor General had given the council a clean bill of health for eight successive years.

“It doesn’t come as a surprise when the proclamation comes two days after the DA won a resounding victory in Midvaal,” Nast told the public broadcaster.

“One can’t help but think there is some kind of politics behind it.”

The presidency disputed this, saying Zuma signed the proclamation ordering a probe on May 17, the day before the elections.

“The president recently ordered investigations in a number of municipalities, the majority of which are ANC run, for example Ekurhuleni and Tshwane metropolitan councils,” spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.

Nast said several political parties, particularly the ANC and the Freedom Front Plus, had been levelling these allegations for years.

“We have already cooperated with the Public Protector, the SAPS and numerous other bodies over the last two years. We will fully cooperate with the Special Investigating Unit as well.”

The SABC said the presidential proclamation signed by Zuma was sketchy on details. It instructed the unit to probe, among other matters, the improper disposal of municipal operating assets, the failure to recover monies due to the council and appointment of personnel at incorrect post levels. It orders a probe dating back as far as January 2002.

Kodwa said entities against which proclamations had been issued recently included Gauteng’s health and the Eastern Cape’s education departments, the national departments of human settlements, arts and culture and public works, the police and the SABC.

The ruling party deployed an array of heavyweights to bolster its campaign in the area, including Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, ANC youth leader Julius Malema and Deputy Justice Minister Andries Nel. The government also built 1 000 toilets in Midvaal’s Sicelo Shiceka settlement at a cost of R3,6-million.

Midvaal, the only DA-led municipality in Gauteng, was named the top municipality for service delivery last year by Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane.