More troubles for Nkomazi municipality

THE controversial Nkomazi municipality has shot itself in the foot by granting its chief financial officer Sheila Mabaso indemnity from a number of charges.

The case has cost the council millions of rands.

Mabaso threatened to stop giving testimony against municipal manager Sabelo Shabangu who was suspended for incapacity, among other things, more than a year ago.

Municipal spokesperson Cyril Ripinga did not outline the charges that Mabaso was being indemnified for.

"Due to the fact that the matter is still sub judice we are unable to give further details," Ripinga said.

But Sowetan has learnt that, among other charges, Mabaso was indemnified for failing to follow procurement procedures in terms of policies of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

According to a Grant Thornton forensic report on the activities of Nkomazi municipality, Mabaso's actions amounted to "irregular and wasteful expenditure".

"Due to the fact that Mabaso did not apply due care, payments were effected for work not performed and over-payments in relation to incorrect VAT calculations," the report says.

Meanwhile, in terms of the Section 79 report on the matter between the Nkomazi municipality and Shabangu, the CFO is said to be the key witness for the municipality and has already testified against Shabangu.

"It was previously alleged that the CFO has committed certain acts of misconduct, and such allegations have since been considered by the council," the report says.

"It was resolved on legal advice not to pursue same against the CFO."

It further says the initiator appointed by the council to prosecute charges against Shabangu has advised that Mabaso is reluctant to testify in the hearing unless she is given indemnity.

Nkomazi municipality was once accused of embezzling more than R8million within three months after the suspension of Shabangu.