DA calls for immediate suspension of West Rand municipality officials

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JOHANNESBURG, November 1 – The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Thursday called for the immediate suspension of the municipal manager, Moroashike David Mokoena, and the chief financial officer, Romeo Mohaudi, of the West Rand District Municipality, pending urgent disciplinary and criminal hearings.

DA Gauteng West Rand regional chairperson Evert du Plessis said both Mokoena and Mohaudi had refused to hand over their laptops to a team of auditors appointed by the Gauteng provincial government.

The West Rand District council has given the auditors access to the municipality’s computer backup system, which contains all the relevant information to assist them in their investigations.

“The municipality, which invested R77 million in VBS Mutual Bank despite being cautioned not to do so by the National Treasury, is running short of funds. More than 100 of the municipality’s employees have not received their October salaries and their medical aid and pension contributions are three months in arrears,” Du Plessis said.

“Among those who have not yet been paid are the mayor, councillors, executive managers, managers and supervisors. There was no indication of when employees will be paid.”

Du Plessis said the West Rand District council had applied for an early payment on its equitable share from the Gauteng government, which had been denied.

The equitable share is an unconditional grant that enables a municipality with limited resources of its own to provide basic services to poor households, perform core municipal functions and afford basic administrative and governance capacity.

“On Wednesday frustrated employees stormed the municipal offices and held management and councillors hostage for more than 10 hours‚ refusing to let anyone leave or enter the building until they were paid.

“The DA calls on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize to urgently place the West Rand District municipality under administration in terms of Section 139 of the Constitution of South Africa,” Du Plessis said.

– African News Agency (ANA)