R30,2 million toilet in JB Marks

Motlalepula Rosho, the chairperson of the North West Legislature Portfolio Committee on Local Government was disgusted after finding only a toilet after R30 million was spent on the upgrading of the Sarafina sports facility. Photo: Namhla Luhabe

The R45.5 million that was budgeted to upgrade the Sarafina stadium included the construction of a guard house, gym, courts (tennis, basketball, netball and volleyball), an ablution block, a pedestrian lane, swimming pool, caretaker accommodation and irrigation system.

But, during the oversight visit by the North West Legislature Portfolio Committee on Local Government on Tuesday, the committee chairperson, Motlalepula Rosho said the project is far from completion and nothing in the municipal report is there except for one toilet.

The executive mayor, Kgotso Khumalo admitted in the meeting that the service providers had already been paid R30,2 million for the project.
The technical director at the municipality, Benji Zungu explained that ‘in the 2016/17 financial year and after several engagements with the initial service provider, Dolly Construction/Kemisetso (J/V), the contract was terminated because of slow progress and non-performance and the companies were paid R9,9 m. Khoisan Roads cc was then appointed to finish the project and it was completed in September 2017 and paid R17,2 million.’

Sarafina stadium as it looked R9 million later. The DA declared at the time that there was no value for money.

Christmas is over in J.B. Marks

The enraged Rosho told the municipality that Christmas is over. ‘People cannot come and take the municipality for a ride. She told the mayor that she was not happy about the report on the stadium.

She said Zungu could not answer some of the questions relating to the Sarafina stadium project during the oversight visit. He relied on the contractors who had already handed the project back to the municipality.

‘If I was the municipal manager, I would have charged Mr Zungu a long time ago. Why do you keep a person who is collapsing our system right in front of your eyes? she asked the executive mayor.

‘The sports facility has been completely vandalised and there is no value for money. We want the municipal public accounts committee (MPAC) to conduct an urgent investigation into this project. Monies were paid to service providers, especially Dolly Construction, for shoddy work.

The investigation must reveal the exact amount that was paid for the project and whether there is value for money. We need to know which procurement processes were followed when these service providers were appointed.’
R7, 5 million spent on the road that no car can travel on

The MPAC chairperson, Rufane Makousa later told the committee that they had conducted oversight projects. ‘About R7.5 million was spent on the Appeldraai road but no car can travel on it. In Ext. 11, eight streets were supposed to have been paved with a storm water drainage system but only one street was paved. Money was diverted from these projects,’ he said.
Rosho demanded a summary of how the municipality plans to fix these projects that have compromised service delivery.

Ghost payments in J.B. Marks
The chief financial officer confirmed that ghost payments have been happening in the municipality for years. Khumalo admitted that the municipality had discovered some ghost payments to service providers in the supply chain unit although the services were never rendered. He said they were worth less than R30 000. ‘These service providers are threatening our chief financial officer and the acting municipal manager,’ he said, adding that the cases have been reported to the police.
Rosho has instructed the municipality to investigate the matter of the ghost payments and present a report before the council and the committee.

R150 million in litigation cases

Khumalo made a startling revelation that the municipality faces litigation worth over R150 million, maybe even more. ‘Some is from the former Ventersdorp municipality where certain service providers claim to have entered into long-term contracts during the erstwhile Ventersdorp administration,’ he said.

The sitting on Friday was tense as Rosho questioned a number of projects, demanding accountability and decrying the shameful state the municipality is in. ‘I was recently in the national council of provinces (NCOP) and I was sad that I was born and bred here when I received J.B. Marks’s report. We used to be known for good governance and we are now the worst. Do not blame the merger,’ she told the mayor.

The mayor argued that J.B. Marks was among the top ten municipalities in the country, according to Ratings Afrika. And, he said, the national government had not placed the local municipality under administration. Rosho’s reply was swift and cutting. It may be among the top 10, she said but, in terms of providing basic services to its people, the municipality was facing serious challenges.

‘What has happened to the reserves? This used to be a city of expertise. We had a knack for collecting revenue and providing services without begging. You guys have regressed and this is also the view held by the Auditor-General (referring to the disclaimer audit opinion in the last AG report).’



Also read:

Stadium construction offered no value for money – DA

Selogile Leshage

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