Municipal boss 'beats up union leader'

Samwu trashed Madibeng offices last week.
Samwu trashed Madibeng offices last week.

The municipal manager of Madibeng local municipality in North West is facing charges of assault after he allegedly assaulted a union official who had demanded to see a contract between the municipality and a vehicle-leasing company which provides the municipality with fleet cars.

Morris Maluleka is being accused of assault by SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) local secretary Ikgomotseng Kotsokwane.

Kotsokwane said the incident happened on Thursday at the municipal offices where he had gone to demand to see a copy of the contract between Madibeng and Bertobright, with which Maluleka has allegedly signed for 146 vehicles.

"We have opened a case of assault against the municipal manager of Madibeng local municipal... We feel that the contract that the municipal manager has signed with Bertobright for 146 vehicles will collapse the municipality," Kotsokwane said.

He said Maluleka refused to show them the contract and instead pushed and slapped him with an open hand.

North West police spokesman Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone confirmed a charge has been laid.

"A case of common assault has been opened against the municipal manager. It is still under investigation and no arrest has been made," Mokgwabone said.

Kotsokwane told Sowetan they wrote to Maluleka a few weeks ago pleading with him for the copy of the contract, to no avail.

He said they wanted to see the terms of reference of the contract as there were more vehicles than drivers at the municipality, which, he said, equated to wasteful expenditure.

"He's refusing us to see the contract and this only confirms our suspicion and we ask ourselves what is it that he's hiding?"

Maluleka yesterday denied that he assaulted Kotsokwane. He further dismissed claims of corruption at the municipality.

He accused Samwu of being bitter as he had clamped down on corruption.

"The problem is that according to the auditor-general's report, there are Madibeng [municipality] employees who own water tankers and contractors and these employees are illegally doing business with the municipality," Maluleka said.

"We were spending about R20-million a month [for leasing of vehicles] despite the fact that we are sitting with about 40 to 50 vehicles with mechanical problems..." said Maluleka.

According to auditor-general report on Brits-based municipality, about R870-million was spent unauthorised, while R170-million was irregular expenditure.