Ramaphosa hosts the imbizo in Limpopo amid controversy over the appointment

Ramaphosa hosts the imbizo in Limpopo amid controversy over the appointment

  • President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected in Limpopo on Friday to host a presidential impeso with the theme: “Leave No One Behind”.
  • His visit comes amid controversy in the province over the appointment of a Limpopo government official implicated in the VBS Mutual scandal and another with a criminal record for fraud.
  • In March, the president said the ANC’s “top priority” for the year was “renewal,” which includes separating the party from government officials tainted by corruption and other serious criminal allegations.

The illegal appointment of a Limpopo government official implicated in the VBS Mutual bank scandal and another with a criminal record for fraud is expected to test President Cyril Ramaphosa’s “renewal” project ahead of his visit to the province on Friday.

Ramaphosa will host the presidential impezu – or community gathering – in Limpopo amidst a scenario in which regional government officials blatantly disregard Kogta MEC Pasikobo Makamu over annulment of two appointments he did not approve, rendering them invalid in line with amending regulations for municipal representation.

The Limpopo High Court in Polokwane in September last year ruled the appointment of Maurice Mallolek as Municipal Administrator in Mogalakwena Municipality to be “illegal”, but Malloleke remains in the position. Mughalaquina is an ANC-led municipality.

News24 has seen a report dated May 2023 by the ANC’s Limpopo Provincial Executive Committee, which states that the municipality spent more than R20 million in legal fees trying to overturn the High Court ruling.

Read | Ramaphosa heads to Limpopo for Impezu as ANCWL prepares to vote for new captains

The party acknowledged that the funds could have been used to deal with “service delivery issues,” including “sewage spills, water provision and [the] drilling grafts”.

ANC Limpopo spokesperson Jimmy Mshaka wrote the report. Meshaka is a member of the regional executive committee.

Speaking to News24 on behalf of the Limpopo ANC, Machaka confirmed the writing of the May report and said the party “supported Maluleke’s appointment”. He added that it would allow Mogalquina “time and space” to deal with the court issue.

“We are worried about the amounts [spent]”But it is something out of our control,” Machaka said.

The next court date for Mogalaquina’s permission to appeal is August 4.

But sources in Limpopo said the municipality would ask for another delay as part of an alleged delaying tactic to stop Maluleki’s removal as mayor.

“They are misusing municipal funds because they know they will get away with it. There is no hope of overturning the Supreme Court’s decision, and Malolek knows that,” said a source who requested anonymity.

VBS scandal and criminal records

According to a national government warning letter dated April 2022, seen by News24, Maluleke deposited 50 million rand into the now-defunct VBS Mutual Bank in 2018 while he was the chief financial officer of Madibeng Local Municipality in the northwest.

It is against the Municipal Financial Management Law for municipalities to deposit funds in joint banks.

Mpulelo Sigaba, Acting Director General of Institutional Development in the National Cooperative Department, warned the Mughalakwena Council in his April 2022 letter that Maloleki, although he resigned prior to his discipline, had a tainted past related to VBS.

Only 20 million rand of Madibeng’s money has been recovered, Sigaba said.

Read Sigaba’s letter:

Although Mr. Maluleke does not appear on the dismissed personnel record, the [Mogalakwena] The Municipality is being brought to the attention of the fact that while serving as Finance Director and Municipality Administrator, respectively, in the Municipality of Madibeng, the Municipality is alleged to have been involved in the investment of VBS Mutual Bank.

Read | More about VBS

In May, Mugalakwena, according to a document written by MEC Makamu, appointed Kolongwana Ngumana as its chief financial officer despite her 2017 fraud conviction.

Makamu wrote, in a document dated May 18, 2023, that the Municipal Finance Management Act states that anyone found guilty of corruption or fraud must serve a 10-year cooling-off period “before a person is redeployed to the municipality.”

“State Security [Agency] The report indicates that the preferred incumbent has committed fraud… The municipality is required to comply with all legislative requirements regarding the appointment of senior managers,” Makamo wrote.

His document was intended for Mogalaquina Mayor Ngwaku Tawatswala, who, along with Malolek, ignored Makamo’s directives.

Makamo’s spokesperson, Hitekani Magwedze, said the MEC’s ​​responsibility in preventing the hiring of senior managers with criminal records was to “supervise, direct and implement”.

Magwedze added:

The process of ensuring that the directives provided by the Ministry of Education in the responses to the municipality is currently underway, and there is hope that the matter will not reach the level where implementation is required.

On the current R20 million judicial challenge to overturn Maluleki’s illegal appointment ruling, Maguides said, “The Ministry of Education maintains that it is not his belief that state agencies should sue each other.”

Maguids added, however, that Makamo believes things should be resolved “using the law as a tool”.

Mogalakwena spokeswoman Malisila Silukela, on behalf of Mayor and Maloleki, denied that Ngomana had a criminal record. Makamo stated that the examination resulted in a criminal conviction for fraud.

Silukela said Ngumana was appointed as CFO by the council “based on extensive experience, skills and expertise in local government”.

Silukela asserted that it was “wrong to conclude that Mr. Ngumana has been convicted of fraud”, adding that Mugalakwena had conducted an audit, the findings of which were submitted to Makamu.

Selokela did not answer questions about the more than 20 million rand in legal fees spent defending Maluleke or whether the municipality was involved in delaying tactics.

Ramaphosa Regeneration Project

Ramaphosa is expected to arrive in Limpopo on Friday with the slogan “Leave no one behind.”

In March, the president said the African National Congress – which he also leads – was “renewal” his “number one priority” for the year.

Read | The ANC’s “unity and renewal” takes over shedding the load as a major priority for the party

In accordance with decisions taken by the ANC at its national conference last December, this renewal included separating the party from government officials tainted by corruption and other serious criminal allegations.

Responding to News24’s questions about whether the apparent shenanigans in Limpopo were in line with Ramaphosa’s renewal stance ahead of his provincial visit, presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said: “The matter you are referring to has not been briefed on the president. If it remains a problem then the province is present.” [to]We have to leave it to the prefecture to deal with it.”

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