Road jobs 'given to pals'

Emerging construction companies in Namakgale, near Phalaborw,a accuse their ward councillor, Matome Patrick Malatji, of allocating jobs for constructing a tar road in the area to his pals.

Emerging construction companies in Namakgale, near Phalaborw,a accuse their ward councillor, Matome Patrick Malatji, of allocating jobs for constructing a tar road in the area to his pals.

This after Malatji, an ANC ward 7 councillor, allegedly withdrew three of "14 deserving companies" billed to tar a road from a list of those who were appointed. The road, which is being built under the Expanded Public Works Programme, stretches from Score in Namakgale to Mshongo Village and covers about 9,2km.

Tensions arose when three companies, Theo Seeng Construction, Pespejajo Business Enterprise and Seapane Multi-Service Civil Engineering were struck off the list of those billed to work on the project a day before construction commenced.

Matters came to a head when three companies, allegedly owned by people close to Malatji, were appointed to replace them. Malatji allegedly appointed the companies without first consulting with the relevant community stakeholders.

Julia Sekwakwa, owner of Pespejajo, said Malatji told her that her company was withdrawn because her mother worked for the Namakgale municipality.

She said she did not know that she was forbidden to work anywhere in the municipal area because her mother was on the municipal's payroll.

"He said my job had been awarded to Phaladi Parks Malesa, a known friend of Malatji's who works in the premier's office in Polokwane," Sekwakwa said.

Another construction owner, Rufus Moretsele of the Theo Seeng Construction and Labour, said he was taken aback when he found another company working on the same project when he went to start work on Monday.

"When I asked why they gave my job to another company, they sent me from pillar to post. Now they don't even want to see me. I am gatvol and want the whole world to know what type of person Malatji is," Moretsele said.

Attempts to solicit comment from Malatji drew a blank but BaPhalaborwa local municipality spokesperson Elliot Ramatshela undertook to investigate the allegations.

Ramatshela said the particular project was meant to benefit local emerging companies, women, youth and indigent people.

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