08 August 2022
SAMWU welcomes Maluti-a-Phofung Municipal Manager’s arrest
The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) in the Free State province notes and welcomes the arrest of the Maluti-a-Phofung (MAP) Local Municipality’s Municipal Manager, Mr. Futhuli Mothamaha whose arrest was executed by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, better known as the Hawks. Mr. Mothamaha was arrested on charges of fraud and corruption, he stands accused of defrauding the already financially ailing municipality of over R58 million through a security contract which did not go through the proper municipal procurement processes as dictated by the Municipal Finance Management Act.
As SAMWU, we are convinced that this is but one of the many failures by MAP’s political elite who have turned the municipality into their cash-cow, while in the process compromising the much-needed service delivery for residents of the municipality. We have previously learnt of the modus operandi of Mr. Mothamaha who continually bulldoze his way into the purse of the municipality by suspending and terminating anyone who stands in his way of looting the coffers of the municipality. The municipality’s CFO and MAP Water Finance Manager have also fallen prey to the ruthlessness of Mr. Mothamba through a suspension for refusing to carry out illegal and unlawful instructions coming from the office of the Municipal Manager.
The refusal by the CFO to carry out illegal and unlawful instructions has resulted in yet another unlawful act of removing the powers and functions of the CFO to that of the Municipal Manager, with exorbitant amounts being paid to lawyers to ensure that the Municipal Manger has total control of the municipality’s finances by hook or crook. We, therefore, urge the Hawks to widen their investigations to include payments of R1 292 352 and R1 751 310 which were made on June 1 and 2 respectively, despite not being authorised by the CFO.
Furthermore, the suspension of MAP Water Finance Manager on the 2nd of July 2022, created an opportunity for the municipality to illegally and unlawfully appoint yet another security company on the 7th of July, the company was paid on the same day. As SAMWU, we are convinced that this process was also irregular and that the Finance Manager was merely suspended to allow politicians to have their way with municipal resources. We, therefore, urge the Hawks to also draw their attention to the appointment of this security company at MAP Water and the subsequent payments.
As a union interest in good governance in all of the province’s municipalities, we welcome this arrest and further commend all those who have stood their ground and refused to take illegal and unlawful instructions from the Municipal Manager. We are however concerned that the office of the Mayor has seemingly turned a blind eye to illegal and unlawful actions that are taking place in the municipality, some without Council resolutions. It is for this reason that as SAMWU, we have instructed our lawyers to join all Councillors of the municipality to be held severally and personally liable for the financial losses that are currently happening in the municipality under their watch.
This arrest is vindication to the calls that SAMWU has been making for a long time that privatisation and tendering systems are not in the interest of service delivery but rather for the enrichment of a few individuals who are politically connected. It makes no sense for a municipality to put out a tender contract for the provisions of security services, these are services that can be done by people who are permanently and directly employed by municipalities.
These tendering systems have further created a parasitic opportunity for individuals such as Mr Mothamba who play javelin with municipal resources. The fact that Mr Mothamba was able to quickly put up R500 000 to post bail makes us to suggest that he has indeed benefited from the looting of municipal finances.
As SAMWU, we are committed to seeing municipalities that play a developmental role while also promoting local economic development. This constitutional mandate of municipalities will however never be achieved so long as municipalities are allowed to be a breeding ground for corruption. The recent Auditor General report, particularly on Free State municipalities leaves much to be desired, all because of individuals like Mr Mothamba and those like-minded. The AG went further to categorise MAP as a failed municipality, a situation which all should be concerned about and demand immediate intervention by the provincial government to stabilise the municipality. For municipalities to work for residents and deliver quality services, the cancer of fraud and corruption needs to be rooted out.
Issued by SAMWU Free State Province
079 152 9648
Deputy Provincial Secretary
072 978 0310