The Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality has indicated that an internal investigation was underway following the arrest of two municipal employees who were caught stealing diesel out of a municipal truck in Wodehouse Street last Friday.
Spokesperson Lonwabo Kowa said the financially embattled local authority opened a case against these officials who were siphoning diesel from the municipal vehicle but could not provide further details as the case was still under investigation.
“The two were caught with the nimble assistance of Saps. At this stage, the municipality cannot divulge more information as an internal investigation will ensue as well as internal disciplinary processes. We cannot divulge more information as this may jeopardise the investigation. Such acts work against the municipality’s financial recovery plan aimed at resuscitating the institution’s healthy financial status,” said Kowa.
An anonymous source told The Rep that the employees, who were caught in the backyard of a house in Wodehouse Street, were both drivers at the municipality, adding that the unlawful conduct had been going on for some time. The employees’ movements were monitored, resulting in the discovery. Kowa could not reveal the number of litres stolen, citing investigation procedure.
The Rep reported (Fuel theft contributing to dire EMLM condition – councillor, June 19 2019) that a councillor had recovered a container with diesel at the local authority’s public safety control room. “A security guard said he was guarding it, but I doubt that was the case. It has become apparent the looting of municipal fuel is an inside job. This is not the first time I have witnessed something like this, but it was a matter of officials not taking action after an incident of this nature had been reported. I blame the officials for not acting when such bad things were taking place in the municipality and were reported.” The councillor said the theft of fuel resulted in the municipality losing exorbitant amounts of money.
Police spokesperson Captain Namhla Mdleleni said the Komani police had arrested two suspects of 30 and 40 for attempted theft of diesel. She said both suspects appeared at the Queenstown magistrate’s court last week and were released on bail.