The Mogale City mayor Michael Holenstein says he inherited a dysfunctional municipality from the ANC administration and that plans to turn it around were being sabotaged by those who were booted out of office.
It would also appear that substantial remuneration was paid to senior officials within the mayor’s office who did not report for duty for a year.
In an exclusive interview with The Star in Krugersdorp on Monday, Holenstein painted a gloomy picture of a municipality that was “rotten to the core” and punching below its weight.
The DA councillor, who was elected into the mayoral position on December 7, following the resignation of Lynn Pannall on grounds of ill-health, said the administration staff and officials inherited from the ANC administration were making it “difficult for us to govern”.
The municipality, west of Joburg, fell under a DA-led coalition after the watershed municipal elections in August.
Holenstein said some officials were not co-operating with his administration by “hiding documents” pertaining to some of the municipality’s cases and disputes.
“We want to champion service delivery and restore the rule of law.”
Holenstein said two municipal officials, who pocketed more than R1m each, were part of the political support services, and their terms were linked to the previous ANC mayor’s tenure in office.
But the pair were still on the municipality’s payroll.
“They are still here. It would appear they also received the 3 percent bonuses paid to senior municipal officials,” said Holenstein.
The state of the municipality had not been discussed with him since his election to office, he added.
MMC for finance Jaco Holtzhausen said Holenstein was investigating the possibility of conducting a forensic audit as soon as possible, after the new administration picked up anomalies in the procurement and supply-chain management processes.
If it was found that there “are issues in this regard, the necessary legal action will follow”.
The mayor said the DA were in the municipality to serve the people and not engage in “political squabbles”.
“That is our mandate from the people,” he added.
ANC West Rand spokesperson Refentse Mangope said the municipality had not been operating according to the prescripts of the law in the past four months.
He alleged that quarterly reports had not been produced by the executive and that council meetings were being disrupted.
“The provincial government should intervene because the municipality has collapsed. Municipal services are not being provided to communities,” he said.
Meanwhile, the municipality’s lower-graded employees finally received their 3 percent bonuses on Monday after the municipality initially missed the December 15 deadline to pay them.
This led to about 1800 disgruntled municipal employees downing tools last week and demanding that they be paid the money promptly.
Holenstein was “delighted” that all the workers had received their bonuses, and assured that “good business practice and upholding the rule of law is definitely a priority”.