/ 8 November 2011

Public protector report blasts DA’s Midvaal

Public Protector Report Blasts Da's Midvaal

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released a scathing report on the Midvaal municipality on Tuesday, saying it had breached financial and administrative policies.

She said the municipality, the only one run by the Democratic Alliance in Gauteng, violated the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework.

This was because it had, for the past 30 years, retained the same legal firm without going through proper procedures.

The accounting department failed to comply with the prescribed debt management collection and did not take “timeous action” against an agent who owed R869 261 through the sale of pre-paid electricity.

Madonsela also found fault with the municipality’s handling of property related affairs, saying this “did not comply with the law”.

Title deeds of some properties, handed over by ratepayers who could not financially afford to keep them, were not transferred to the municipality but to a law firm owned by the DA Midvaal leader Andre Odendaal.

In 2006, the same legal firm was awarded another tender for debt collection and auctioneering in violation of the Local Government Transition Act, she said.

“The awarding of the tender failed to comply with the principles of fairness and competitiveness as provided for by section 217 of the Constitution.

“The company’s contract was deliberately and continuously extended which allowed it to gain an unfair advantage over other prospective service providers.”

In one incident, a house worth R118 000 that belonged to a late ratepayer — who owed the municipality R5 240 — was “auctioned” by Odendaal at R10 000 to a company he owned and was later sold for R180 000.

Further investigations
Madonsela also confirmed she had since been requested by the DA to investigate Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele over allegations of reckless and extravagant luxury hotel expenditure.

“We have written to the responsible ministers to notify them about the investigation. We expect them to co-operate fully with our teams.”

She said however due to financial constraints faced by her organisation, she could not give a solid timeline on when the investigations would be concluded.

“It should have taken us a month to investigate the allegations but now I am not very sure,” she said.

The DA welcomed Madonsela’s findings of maladministration in the Midvaal municipality.

“Following the Protector’s report, the DA will be reviewing the rules that govern the actions of its public office-bearers,” DA MP and chairperson of the party’s federal executive James Selfe said on Tuesday.

The ANC in Gauteng also welcomed the release of Madonsela’s report on Midvaal municipality.

It said the report confirmed the views of Midvaal residents that there was endemic and institutionalised maladministration, and demanded remedial action.

“It is clear from the public protector report that the municipality was using unprocedural means to approve tenders,” the ANC Gauteng said in a statement.

Congress of the People has welcomed the report and described it as an “eye-catching revelation”.

Cope caucus leader at the Gauteng provincial legislature Ndzipho Kalipa said the party was satisfied with the report and “remedial actions to deal with maladministration even though the Midvaal municipality was absolved of corruption allegations”.

“We warn, however that the Democratic Alliance led-municipality should ‘walk the talk’ or else get a knife stuck into the neck.” — Sapa