R96000 a month rent for non-existent toilet - Mahikeng municipal boss accused of graft

A rent of R90000 a month can pay for a luxurious five-bedroom home in Sandton, Johannesburg, and that comes with furniture, underground heating and a garden service.

"With that money one gets a five-bedroom rented house anywhere in Sandton, which is Africa's richest square mile," a Johannesburg estate agent said.

But, a Mahikeng local municipal manager is in trouble for spending R96000 a month for a nonexistent toilet at a local taxi rank.

According to a Johannesburg mobile toilets company, renting a fully serviced mobile toilet can cost R13125 per month.

"I am talking about the one that looks like a bathroom - with a mirror, lights, hand wash, other goodies," she said.

Now, councillors are demanding that Thabo Mokwena account for the funds which were spent over a period of seven months.

The toilet was supposed to stand in for non-functioning public toilets at the Mahikeng taxi rank. According to documents seen by Sowetan, Mokwena paid R672000 without a service level agreement to a service provider.

A mobile toilet worth R70000 was also purchased.

Mokwena was also accused of investing R83-million in controversial VBS Bank without following proper procedure. This was after the municipality got an over-payment of R60-million from a National Treasury equitable share and R23-million from a municipal infrastructure grant.

Mokwena allegedly received threats within the municipality and wrote a letter to mayor Betty Diakanyo on June 12, saying his working conditions were not conducive or safe.

He said in a letter, seen by Sowetan, that he was constantly told that he was
corrupt and unqualified by members of the public and some of the councillors.

Speaker Bafana Nebe said the council would discuss Mokwena's fate on Tuesday.

"We know about those allegations; they are serious. We will, however, talk more on steps to be taken after the council meeting," Nebe said.

Sanco provincial secretary Packet Seaketso said they wanted Mokwena suspended because his presence might hinder investigations.

He said the municipal infrastructure money invested in VBS was meant for service delivery. "That R23-million was not money to be invested, it was to be used for services we are currently not getting."

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