Mkhwebane says Lesseyton sports field not a R15m facility

INSPECTION: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and deputy Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka engaging with Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality mayor Thembeka Bunu at the controversial R15m Lesseyton sports field Picture: ZINTLE BOBELO

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane gave a scathing assessment of the controversial R15m Lesseyton sports field earlier today, indicating that the facility could not have cost more than R1m and that the money could have been spent on solving the area’s water problems.

Mkhwebane and deputy Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka concluded their month-long, countrywide stakeholder roadshow by visiting the facility, following several complaints lodged by certain individuals.

The Public Protector SA provincial office in Bhisho is investigating alleged procurement irregularities relating to the construction of the sports field.

Even R5m to me is a lot of money to construct such a facility. They are playing with people here. The money could have gone towards installing boreholes to address the water scarcity issue in this area so that people can have water. This is so wrong,” she said.

Some of the things do not require an engineer or specialist where we can say this was worth so much. The stadium is not even taken care of. It means that it will dilapidate after spending so much money.”

She said investigations as per the provincial office would be completed by September.

Apparently some documents cannot be found but we are the investigative body in terms of the Constitution. We have our way of accessing these documents. We are working with the special investigating unit and the Hawks.”

MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs Xolile Nqatha was expected to issue a forensic report after engagements were made while Mkhwebane and Gcaleka met with the provincial heads of the legislative in Bhisho.

When there are allegations that R15m was spent, we had to come and see for ourselves. Our duty is to establish whether due processes were followed. Were they followed in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act, the municipal supply chain policies and whether there was value for money. The intention is to ensure that systems are put in place. We are here to protect the public and ensure that money is not misused.”