Opposition parties at Senqu Local Municipality based in Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape are calling for the sacking of the council Speaker. This after allegations of double-dipping against the Speaker and another councillor surfaced.
The two are said to have been getting salaries from the municipality as well as from government departments. The other councillor has since resigned.
This municipality has been in the news for all the right reasons recently. It has received eight clean audits for eight consecutive years but now, things are taking a sharp turn.
The council Speaker, a former school principal is allegedly involved in a double-dipping scandal. It is alleged she has been getting two salaries from the municipality as well as from her former job.
A public servant elected as a councillor must resign immediately from the public service before assuming duties of being a councillor. The matter is under investigation.
“We have established an ad-hoc committee that is made up of experts. Our legal team is there, the audit committee is part of that committee. So we have tried by all means to establish this committee to go on a fact-finding mission and also to draw lessons from the process itself and present recommendations to council for decision making,” says Mayor of Senqu Municipality, Velile Stokhwe.
But opposition parties want accountability. They believe the council knew all along about this double-dipping.
“As the EFF, we are blaming also the municipal manager because there’s a declaration form that is being signed by each and every councillor within a period of days as a councillor. So to us, it tells us that after the declarations were signed, there’s nothing that was done in following up on whatever that you’ve been declared in those forms. Because they should have seen that some of these councillors are double-dipping,” remarks Nolonwabo Ngendane, Economic Freedom Fighters councillor at the municipality.
Sterkspruit Civic Association Mcebisi Mgojo says, “These people when they were nominated to be councillors, they knew that they were still employed at other departments. But it is clear that it was deliberate and it was conscious. It is clear that the ruling party that is in majority is now dragging this matter for whatever reason. We do not know.”
The Democratic Alliance has also weighed in on the matter, with councillor Garry Magcai saying: “As the Democratic Alliance, we are not even surprised by these stunts of the ANC because the things that are related to corruption are aligned with the ANC. So with the Democratic Alliance what we are calling for is that the ANC must implement its own rules of the step aside policy when it comes to issues such as this one.”
The municipality says it wants to follow all due processes
“It’s the first time that we are confronted with this situation. Now we need to tread carefully on how we deal with the matter. But more importantly, it’s for us to draw lessons for future purposes that will enable us to create systems that avoid similar things from happening,” Mayor Stokhwe adds.
The municipality is hoping the investigation will be completed soon for a decision to be taken.
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