municipal papers buried in the bush

THREE senior officials of the Blouberg municipality could be in for the high jump after police discovered sensitive documents buried in the bush yesterday.

The documents, found some 500metres from the municipal offices, contained fraudulent financial transactions suspected to have been made by senior municipal officials.

Limpopo police spokesperson Mohale Ramatseba said they had received a tip-off from members of the public about the documents.

The police went to the scene and found returned cheques and other sensitive documents with the signatures of municipal officials who had sanctioned the transactions.

Ramatseba said the documents were taken for forensic auditing. A probe was launched establish why they had been buried in the bush.

He said the police would investigate who benefited from the transactions and hand over the findings of their investigations to the council.

Blouberg mayor Serite Sekgoloane said yesterday that certain senior officials were involved and that the council was going to work around the clock to expose and take action against those involved.

Sekgoloane said the documents were buried soon after he announced that he was planning an audit on the day-to-day running of the municipality for the past three years. He said he also planned to have forensic auditors check the financial status of the council.

"Just a few days after the announcement I was called to the scene," he said.

Sekgoloane said according to the Municipal Systems Act any document involving municipal finances had to be kept for about 20 years before it could be disposed of.

"The discovery proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that they are hiding something. We will soon know who is responsible and take appropriate action," he said.

The discovery of the buried documents comes a year after the SA National Civic Organisation accused the municipality of fraudulently spending millions of rands that it had failed to account for.

Sanco accused suspended municipal manager Isaac Makhura of failing to account for a missing R32million meant for projects in the municipal area.