THE mayor and manager of the Makhuduthamaga local municipality in Limpopo could find themselves in hot water after ignoring a directive that government officials must stop doing business with their employer.

This after mayor Queen Mokhabela and manager Morebudi Thamaga allegedly awarded a contract worth more than R600000 to a member of the audit committee.

The company, Maseko Management Solutions, is allegedly owned by Herold Maseko.

The company was appointed to offer training for members of the executive committee, municipal officials and councillors.

The source said another member of the municipality, Peter Masegare, got a council contract for R400000.

"What is surprising is that all these irregularities are happening under the noses of Mokhabela and Thamaga," a source said.

Thamaga confirmed that Maseko Management Solutions was awarded a contract . But he said it was awarded before he joined the audit committee in May last year .

"When I joined the municipality I was told by the political head of the institution and the chairperson of the audit committee to sign for the release of R37000 for payment of the job done by the company," he said.

"But when I learnt that the company belonged to a member of the audit committee, I then refused to oblige to their request."

Thamaga said the mayor and the chairperson continued to pressurise him to sign for the payment.

He wrote a letter to his principals, saying that it was against policy to award contracts to government officials.

"I later signed for the payment but I have proof that I only signed the cheque because I had been pressurised by my principals to do so," he said.

Mokhabela pleaded ignorance and said when the contract was awarded she was not aware that the owner of the company was a member of the audit committee.

She later contradicted herself and said she knew about the company and its owner and finallyhung up.

Meanwhile, a recent auditor-general's report indicated that a total of 304 government employees had been doing business with their own departments in the last financial year collected a total of R171million.

The report further stated that 89 people were found to be the employee's spouses doing business with their partner's departments and they have collected a total of R24,6million.

A total of 625 government employees doing business with other government departments have pocketed R97million