As Tswaing Municipality faces water shortage, the Province has been ordered to rethink spending patterns

Resolving wasteful expenditure in the province. Prof Job Mokgoro, NW Premier and his administration have billions of rands to recoup from illegal investing into VBS by municipalities.

In my village Ganalaagte, Ga-Maloka water shortage has been the crux of the matter and as things stand, it seems this problem will not be resolved anytime soon.

Recently, I visited the village with my Gran, and despite road constructions taking place- residents are facing water drought, thus have to queue or use other means of transport to get water at some stage- with a cost obviously.

During this week’s appearance in Parliament, North West standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) chairperson Mahlakeng Mahlakeng indicated municipalities have been forced to rethink their spending patterns, including the likes of Tswaing Local Municipality that falls under Ngaka Modiri Molema District, although not mentioned.

This follows allegations of illegally investing hundreds of millions with the VBS Mutual Bank.

“Some of the things like delivery of water and electricity have been hampered. Generally, delivery of services is suffering tremendously.”

He said the municipalities had illegally invested more than R300-million which was meant for service delivery with the troubled VBS without council resolutions. The municipalities are Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati district which invested R150-million, Madibeng (R50-million), Mahikeng (R100-million) and Moretele (R50-million).

The Mahikeng municipality’s sum in fact totals R160-million after it invested a further R60-million, which was erroneously paid into its account by the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta), with VBS.

Mahlakeng made the damning details public yesterday.

“What is even problematic is that the four municipalities did not only invest money belonging to them. Cogta erroneously paid R60-million into the account of Mahikeng municipality and instead of transferring it back they decided to invest it with VBS.”

Mahlakeng said some municipalities used municipal infrastructure grants which are meant for basic water supply facilities to invest with VBS.

“In Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati district municipality R60-million which was meant for water was invested with VBS. In the area people are struggling. There is no water.”

On Wednesday, Scopa hauled the four municipalities before it to account on how and why they invested with VBS.

Mahlakeng said Scopa wanted Mahikeng municipal manager Thabo Mokwena and Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati district manager Jerry Mononela to be suspended immediately. He said the committee has resolved to lay criminal charges against the mayors and chief financial officers involved.

ANC North West deputy chairperson Sello Lehari said the party would take action against the officials as soon as they get a report from local government and human settlements MEC Galaletsang Gaolaolwe and Cogta minister Zweli Mkhize on whether proper procedure was followed when investing with VBS.

In his state of the province address last year, former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo revealed that the province was in discussions with VBS on the role they can play in strengthening VTSD (villages, townships and small dorpies) economies.

At least 14 municipalities in the country invested a combined R1.5-billion with the bank which gained prominence after granting former president Jacob Zuma R7.8-million home loan.

The bank was placed under curatorship by finance minister Nhlanhla Nene earlier this year after it emerged that it had looted allegedly by its executives, and the Venda King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana, who were allegedly living it up on the bank’s account.

According to Premier Prof Job Mokgoro it will take 18 months to resolve the administration issues in the province.

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