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‘State capture’ is rife at municipal level, claims DA

The DA has uncovered cases of “local state capture” in the municipalities it has taken control of, leader Mmusi Maimane said on Sunday.

“The ANC’s project of state capture is not just a national government phenomenon,” he told reporters in Johannesburg. “It permeates throughout every sphere of government.”

Maimane was flanked by Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga, Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, and Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille.

Msimanga and Mashaba revealed how hundreds of millions of rands in local government funds had allegedly been mismanaged, and staff numbers inflated in their cities.

Msimanga said Tshwane was “technically bankrupt” when the DA won control of the metro following the August 3 local government elections.

He said his predecessor, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, had inflated the number of staff to more than 900, costing almost R250-million a year in salaries. “This speaks of the capture of the government in order to continue patronage networks.”

He said that in the city manager’s office, staff numbers were “inflated and bloated”. The salary bill for four deputy city managers, eight regional executive directors and their deputies resulted in a R96-million a year wage bill.

Msimanga made reference to an alleged local government-level, Nkandla-style scandal. “The city spent R12 million to upgrade the mayoral house, which ended in disaster. Large-scale losses occurred, as the plumbing system, cupboards, and even the roof were left damaged.”

He said an assessor had determined that even if the house were sold, the millions spent could not be recovered.

Mashaba also lamented the state of his city. The previous administration created a massive backlog in infrastructure development and maintenance, and a large funding gap to address capital expenditure needs, he said.

De Lille, while congratulating her own city’s progress, commiserated with Mashaba and Msimanga. “I also want to say, my deepest sympathies. It’s a mess,” she said, referring to the two metros.

Following the local government elections this year, the DA and opposition parties took control of Tshwane, Johannesburg, and Nelson Mandela Bay from the ANC. The City of Cape Town was already under its control. – News24

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