SALDANHA BAY MUNICIPALITY REJECTS ALL ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD AND CORRUPTION

by | Aug 6, 2020 | Press Release

Saldanha Bay Municipality is particularly proud of its outstanding, corruption free record of over at least the last nine years. It is therefore of great concern to the Management of this municipality that false information, clearly political by nature, are now being circulated in the media as a malicious attempt to tarnish the Municipality’s reputation. The facts are as follows:

The Western Cape Provincial Government and the West Coast District Municipality granted R700,000 and R50,000 respectively towards Saldanha Bay Municipality.

DEBUNKING ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD
1. COVID-19 Grants:

(a) Procurement and distribution of Care Packs
Prior to the allocation of the abovementioned grants, the Municipality made R674 257 available towards humanitarian relief during this difficult time. In partnership with the local business community, the Department of Social Services and other Good Samaritans in the area, under the auspices of the local Disaster Management Joint Operations Centre, the Municipality was able to provide care packs or so called “food parcels” to beneficiaries. The distribution across the municipal area was carefully planned and documented. Furthermore, the team also provided supplies to registered soup kitchens.

The total number of care packs distributed:
5068 parcels to households and soup kitchens plus additional 824 smaller parcels to persons in need.
Distribution period: April and May 2020

(b) Shelter for Destitute Persons
The R50 000 grant from WCDM was used to provide daily meals for destitute persons that made use of a temporary, safe shelter provided by Saldanha Bay Municipality. This was further augmented by donations.
The total number of destitute persons taken care off:
43 (total over the period)
Number of Meals provided: 2 meals daily
Facilities Available: shelter (tents), ablution facilities, toiletries, masks, medical screening for COVID-19 infection, medical examinations when needed.
Municipal shelter area actively used: 1 April to 14 May 2020

During the latter part of the previous financial year a tender for the supply of care packs was advertised with the objective to utilise the funds made available by the Western Cape Provincial Government for such procurement. Unfortunately, the municipal financial year closed on 30 June 2020 and it was unable to spend the allocated R 700 000 grant from the Western Cape Provincial Government before the closing of the financial year. The Municipality will apply for a roll-over of these funds to the new financial period before 31 August 2020.

All COVID-19 related expenditure was disclosed in reports that served before Council on 14 May 2020 and 24 July 2020. These reports are available for public perusal. It is important to know that a record of all expenses was diligently kept, and all details were submitted to the Western Cape Provincial Treasury and to the Office of the Auditor General for auditing. All COVID-19 related expenditure will be a special focus area in this year’s external audit for all municipalities. It must be emphasised that no funding received, and funding specifically earmarked for COVID-19 relief, were under any circumstances, used by the Executive Mayor for personal benefit.

2. Political Support Staff

The appointment of political support staff in the Office of the Executive Mayor is common practice at municipalities. Council has approved such appointments over many political terms before. The municipality’s approved organogram provides for these positions and it is subsequently budgeted for as a human resources expense. At the beginning of November 2019, five of these contracts with support staff expired. The positions were advertised as vacancies in the media. Applicants were interviewed and the appointments of successful candidates were made.

The appointment of these support personnel was audited by the Auditor General and the report must be read within the context as the finding related to all funding dating back to 2010 and is related to the method of employment.

3. Government Subsidised Housing (RDP Housing), Laingville

The Municipality informs residents that no housing development in Laingville town has been blocked and it remains optimistic to roll-out its Housing Plan as per strategy, with the top structure Phase One of the Laingville 309 housing project, budgeted for this financial year and Phase Two for the next, should bulk infrastructure be completed. The Municipality continues to engage with the community of Laingville in this regard. A Gap Housing development is also in the process of development.

The Saldanha Bay Municipality Council and Administration remains committed to responsive and transparent governance.

4. We value our employees

Municipal Management was taken by surprise and distressed to learn about the assault on and racist remarks towards one of its local municipal workers, Mr Johnnie Rooi, Caretaker at the Tabakbaai landfill site. An incident occurred on Wednesday, 15 July 2020, when a private citizen visited the Tabakbaai landfill site. According to Mr Rooi, a resident drove over the flower beds and greenery at the site. When Mr Rooi asked Mr Marais about this behaviour, he was allegedly physically assaulted and further had to endure verbal, racial abuse from the resident. This incident is currently investigated internally, and various line managers and role players are consulted in this regard and appropriate action will be taken when the outcome is available. Mr Rooi will continue to receive support and counselling via the municipality’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

The municipality will not tolerate any form of assault, racist remarks, hate speech, disrespect or discrimination or inciting of racial conflict by or towards any of the its employees at his or her workplace.

H.F.W. METTLER
MUNICIPAL MANAGER

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