SEKHUKHUNE – The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo has announced it wrote to Sekhukhune District Municipality Executive Mayor, Stanley Ramaila, to immediately implement all recommendations pertaining to the investigations of fraudulent payments of over R5.4 million which were paid into the wrong accounts in July 2018.

According to the party it has further given Executive Mayor Ramaila five days to submit the consolidated detailed investigation report to Limpopo Co-operative Governance MEC, Bioskop Makamu and Treasury MEC, Seaparo Sekoati, for deliberation as per the recommendations.

The opposition party claimed a forensic audit investigation was mandated after the financial systems of the municipality were supposedly hacked, which led to R5.4 million being deposited into wrong accounts belonging to persons and institutions outside the municipality.

In a press statement on Wednesday, the party alleged investigations discovered the alleged fraud involved seven officials attached to the Information Technology (IT) as well as the Financial Department of the municipality.

“Some senior officials from both departments have since been suspended but their cases have not been finalised to date. These officials have been smiling all the way to the bank to get their monthly salaries for doing nothing. The disciplinary regulations for senior managers indicates that if a senior manager is suspended , a disciplinary hearing must commence within three months after the date of suspension, failing which the suspension will automatically lapse, however, no one has been charged yet since July ,” further alleges the statement.

The DA moved that the municipality’s failure to institute any disciplinary hearings against the implicated officials for over a year was a violation of the Labour Relations Act , 1995 (Act No . 66 of 1995 ) as well as the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC )’s Collective Agreement on a disciplinary procedure for municipal employees, entered into between the South African Local Government Association (SALGA ) and organised labour.

“The municipality has already spent over R3 million on legal processes in relation to the forensic investigations but the DA has reliably been informed that the cost has already exceeded over R11 million of taxing payer’s money,” further read the statement.

The party added that according to the forensic report in its possession, the municipality must accelerate the process of appointing the Chief Financial Officer (CFO ) to enforce adherence to internal controls within the finance department to avoid the same mistake to recur.

It claimed it could confirm that the forensic report findings had been on the Executive Mayor’s table far too long without any actions being taken against the implicated officials. We demand accountability.

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