Sterile celebration

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

A Limpopo local municipality celebrated its 50th anniversary on Tuesday amid the pomp of self-congratulatory multiple awards for "good and genuine service delivery".

However, three top senior officials were missing from the festivities.

The celebrations by the Ba-Phalaborwa local municipality in Mopani district went ahead without the municipal manager, corporate services manager and chief finance manager.

The municipal manager, Isaiah Nyathi, who worked for the municipality for more than four years, was fired in May for allegedly falsifying his qualifications and other irregularities.

Soon after Nyathi was fired, chief finance manager Hennie Jacobs resigned. As if that were not enough, corporate services manager Maite Moakamela resigned to take up a better-paying post with the Mopani district municipality.

It is alleged that two other senior officials are expected to resign later this month.

Phalaborwa - meaning Better than the South - was established on July 31 1957. The town then only had 144 houses, a post office, a primary school, a guest house and a sports ground.

On October 27 1969, the status of the town changed from a health committee to town council. The first elected mayor was Gert Deyson.

The function also bestowed the freedom of the town on the 7 South African Infantry Battalion.

The battalion is the nearest army base located at the foot of the Kruger National Park Gate and is only two minutes' drive away from the town's central business district.

"In conjunction with the SAPS, the army played an important role in ensuring that our country and our town in particular are safe," the municipality said.

Last week the municipality was chosen as the best town in the province for attracting the highest number of tourists.