Claims of graft over R8m tender award

CLAIMS of corruption have emerged in the Mookgophong (formerly Naboomspruit) municipality after reports that anR8million contract had been irregularly issued.

The contract for the electrification of the area's extensions five and six was allegedly awarded without the council following proper procedures.

At the centre of the controversy are allegations that the tender, worth R8 million, was advertised and issued within 11 days.

It is also alleged that the person to whom the contract was awarded had started buying materials before he was even appointed. It is also not known when the adjudication committee decided on the successful candidate.

The contract was allegedly advertised on December 4. The site inspection was completed and the appointment made on December 15.

Residents said poles were delivered to a farm in the area a few days before the appointment was made and that the company that was appointed is owned by Sam Moerane, brother-in-law of Reuben Kekana, a PR councillor in the municipality.

Kekana was also mayor of the town during the transitional period in 1995 and is alleged to have much influence in the council.

According to a resident, Sello Nkwana, who is also a ward 1 committee member, a consultative meeting recently scheduled to discuss the issue of employment of labourers on the project was disrupted by members of a group aligned to Kekana.

Nkwana said they were told the issue of the employment of labourers would be decided by a raffle.

"There is too much corruption in the Mookgophong municipality and communities are not allowed to decide on issues affecting them," Nkwana claimed.

He accused council officials of operating the municipality like a spaza shop. This was because the same person to whom the tender was awarded had in the past abandoned projects given to him by the municipality.

Municipal spokesperson Madumelane Lelaka yesterday laughed off the allegations and challenged people to come forward with proof.

"I know nothing about those allegations. If there is somebody with proof then that person is free to come forward," she said.