In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.
THE IFP-led AbaQulusi municipality in Vryheid has come under fire from the SA Communist Party's Mzala Nxumalo district for an unaccounted amount of R307980 from the council's coffers.
But the SACP believes that the amount is just the tip of a iceberg. The money relates to the profit generated from automatic vending machines (AVM) sales since last year.
According to a memo from the accounts, debt and credit control section to the chief financial officer, dated June 18, Gerhard Engelbrecht, who is the manager in the income department, discovered that an amount of R16260 from AVM number 802 had not been received.
When he enquired no reason was given. This was reported to CFO, Magdalene Pearson, who on investigating established that the "losses commenced in April 2008 until January 2009, resulting in an amount of R307980 being lost and unaccounted for".
Pearson wrote to municipal manager Johnson Mathenjwa asking him to give direction as to how they should proceed with the matter. She even recommended that "lie detector tests be carried out on all finance staff in order to detect the culprits".
But SACP district secretary Joe Myeni said they believed the money lost was more than the R307980 established.
"We feel that the investigations should begin from 2007 when these machines were brought in. We feel strongly that if properly investigated, the money that was stolen could accumulate to more than a million rand, which is why we call on the MEC of local government and traditional affairs Willies Mchunu, to appoint an independent commission to thoroughly investigate this misuse of public money," Myeni said.
He said they wanted to see the accounting officer and the chief accounting officer suspended until the investigation was completed.
"While we appreciate the suspension of the income manager last Monday, we are of the view that other decision-makers in the finance section should also be suspended," Myeni said.
He said the fact that the case was not opened with the police to establish if the money was "physically stolen or the fault was with the computer system" raised questions.
Mathenjwa was not available for comment since he was not answering his phone, while mayor George Dlamini said he was in a meeting and asked Sowetan to contact him later.
But at the time of going to press, he was still not available.