Mayor slammed for abuse of power

Date: 28 Feb 2007
Opposition parties on one of the poorest municipalities in the country have accused the mayor and the ANC majority of abuse of power, wasting taxpayers’ money and covering up their misdeeds. They have also accused Moretele executive mayor Asnath Molekwa of buying a Toyota Prado worth more than R400 000 without council approval, of holding a lavish inauguration the municipality could ill afford, of deliberately withholding information from opposition councilors and of having three bodyguards. She denied all the allegations yesterday in an interview with The Citizen. Moretele local municipality services several rural villages such as Makapanstad, North of Pretoria. PAC councilor Geoffrey Mokgohloa said the mayor’s Prado was bought without council approval, and it was involved in a road accident on October 3, the details of which were never placed before council. Councilors were also kept in the dark as to how the repairs were paid for, said another councilor. As for the mayoral inauguration in March last year, Mokgohloa said he believed it had cost “a lot of money”. “I cannot say it cost R3 or R3 million, because the ANC has been secretive about the information and has not given it out,” he said. Mokhogloa was not aware of a reported R5,2 million unauthorized expenditure by the municipality, but could confirm the mayor had three bodyguards and not only the one she was entitled to. Another two councilors also claimed Molekwa had three bodyguards. Opposition councilors have complained that a contract awarded to a security company was not transparent. DA councilor Shangy Mbekwa said questions by the collective opposition over expenditure were never answered, and there was proof “in black and white” that the municipality had overspent R5,2 million without authorization. He alleged contractors had not completed projects, and left gaping holes in the villages where high mast lights were to have been erected. Mbekwa said the municipality was dragging its heels in a project in local villages where resident had been asked to contribute R300 towards water connects. The mayor told The Citizen her inauguration, which had been spread over two occasions, had cost R150 000. She denied having three bodyguards, saying she had a driver and a bodyguard. The purchase of the Prado had been according to procedure, and it had never been in an accident. “I had an accident in my personal car,” she said. Molekwa said it was “not correct” to say there had been R5,2 million over expenditure by the municipality. She claimed the water-connection project was on schedule. By Cathy Thompson The Citizen 28/02/07