Heads are rolling at the Dr Ruth Mompati District Municipality in Vryburg. It was the single biggest investor in VBS Mutual Bank.
African National Congress Mayor Boitumelo Mahlangu has been placed on special leave. This is after she defied a council resolution and brought back suspended municipal manager Jerry Mononela. He was implicated in illegal investments of R150 million.
Cracks are widening politically and administratively after an exposé by the South African Broadcasting Corporation showing the extent of the involvement of the Municipal Manager Jerry Mononela in the illegal investment of R150 million in VBS.
Mononela was suspended. But last week, he returned to office, in what the municipality describes as forced entry. This is after failing to appear at one of the two disciplinary hearings against him.
His return was allegedly endorsed by the mayor. It is a move that has put her political life in jeopardy.
“She then issued a letter to all staff members and the suspended municipal manager in that way the council saw that the executive mayor, is now conflicted, because it looked like she was now taking favours between the two municipal managers,” says Acting Mayor Kgalalelo Sereko.
The municipality is in administrative shambles, unable to provide essential services, and curb sewage spillages. Its financial statements are non-compliant and their equitable share is withheld by treasury.
The VBS scandal is having a widespread impact. “The reason we had unfunded budget was because of the VBS investment. People say it’s R150 million that we lost. We did not lose R150 million only, we have lost R300 million,” says new acting municipal manager Mpho Mothibi.
More accountability is still needed. “ If the suspended municipal manager is found guilty of such he must be charged by law, we have got legislation and we have law that is ruling us, so that should be followed, as per the mayor, we are saying he must go,” says Economic Freedom Fighters’ Lenny Mochumi.
The latest development may be the final nail in the coffin. Both Mahlangu and Mononela would not comment.
It is defending the indefensible as some are saying but this has cost the mayor 30 days of absence from her office and, if the ANC has its way, her removal from the office may be permanent. Click below for more on the story:
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