Report over R15m field is due ‘soon’

UNVEILING: Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality chief whip Nombuyiselo Ndlebe, left, technical services portfolio head Noluthando Nqabisa, and ward 18 councillor Unathi Mlindazwe at the official opening of the R15 million sports field in Lesseyton recently Picture: SOURCED

While a team of investigators has been appointed to probe the Lesseyton sports field claimed to have been built for R15 million, three councillors who were present at the official opening of the facility were given 48 hours to provide reasons why they should not be suspended.

This after cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Xolile Nqatha instructed council speaker Bongiwe van Heerden to provide a report on what steps she would take to ensure councillors present in ANC regalia at the unveiling of the sports field would be held accountable.

A letter addressed to one of the councillors which was shown to The Rep stated that the act was in breach of the code of conduct for councillors. “At the said event you were witnessed wearing political party regalia in this period on our national calendar of serious political campaigning for the forthcoming local government elections. This is in breach of the code of conduct for councillors as your actions are construed as political campaigning by using municipal resources to that end.”

The councillors were expected to provide written responses on receipt of the correspondence.

As instructed by the MEC, the office of the speaker is dealing with the matter and necessary information will be shared after completion or when necessary,” said Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality spokesperson, Lonwabo Kowa.

Cogta spokesperson Makhaya Komisa did not respond on the matter by the time of going to print.

However, MEC Nqatha indicated in a statement that a legal firm had been appointed to investigate the R15 million sports field and that (EMLM) administrator Monwabisi Somana was expected to provide a preliminary report by the end of the month.

“The team is composed of legal minds with expertise in forensics as well as procurement processes,” said MEC Nqatha. Kowa said the municipality would cooperate with the investigating team.

Nqatha also highlighted that the burning of the former Chris Hani Craft Hub building had no links to the R15 million sports field controversy. “The image of a burning building in Enoch Mgijima has nothing to do with the building housing the documentation pertaining to the controversial R15m sports field. We can assure the public that the information and evidence is secured. Investigators are already on site, hard at work. We expect them to leave no stone unturned on the matter,” said Nqatha.

Weighing in on the R15 million spent on a substandard facility, regional organiser of the Pan Africanist of Azania (PAC) movement, Nkosi Machi Nodume said: “The ANC government undermines black people. It seems they have lost the sense of rationality and self respect. The PAC of the People of Azania demand answers on this waste of taxes. We would like to get all the quotations and invoices for the work done that will tally with the R15 million. The masses are being undermined here. We demand accountability and answers.”

He said the PAC of Azania’s demand was to get land back to its rightful owners. “The land is the economy. Once the people have land they can build anything. There can be no viability of economy without the return of the stolen land. We demand our own sovereignty state, not this neo-colonial state. We need sport and other facilities of value that will give an African person dignity and respect.”

The Independents mayoral candidate Ken Clark stated that there was massive corruption within the municipality which needed to be rooted out. “Where is this council spending our money? The project did not benefit local contractors, we do not have adequate electricity, our roads are in a poor state, but they can squander money like this. We want to get to the bottom of it,” he said.

Also weighing in on the matter, Independent Komani Residents’ Association (Ikora) chairperson Xolani Ngxathu questioned the tender processes, demanding transparency from the local authority. “It has been reported that the chosen company was allegedly fifth on the list. We demand transparency in terms of tender processes followed because we believe the facility is worth far less than the stated amount,’’ said Ngxathu.