Mayor 'splashes' R29k on watch for manager

Image: Supplies

A North West mayor is under investigation for allegedly using public money to buy a R29000 watch as a gift for an outgoing municipal manager.

Naledi local municipality mayor Neo Schalk has been accused of buying a TAG Heuer watch without following proper procedure. The watch was given to Modisenyana Segapo two days before his term ended in October.

According to a councillor, the mayor authorised the purchase and then allegedly asked the council to approve it after it was given as a gift.

"We do not have a policy of that kind, we do not even have money to pay for student bursaries, we cannot afford to buy such an expensive gift as a struggling municipality," a councillor who did not want to be named said.

Segapo said he cannot be blamed for receiving the gift.

He said he did not know who authorised it as he was not told that the municipality was planning to buy him a watch. "I don't know how much it costs, but I have an expensive taste, it's a TAG Heuer and I suspect they bought that brand because I also have glasses from that brand."

He said he was given the watch at a farewell party together with a "beautiful portrait" of what he had done for the past five years at that municipality. "They organised the farewell behind my back, it was a surprise. I was not involved in the purchase. It was a parting gift and I was just a recipient," he said.

DA councillor Leona Pretorius said they had taken the matter up with the Hawks and the office of the MEC for local government and human settlements. "We do not have service delivery vehicles, we still owe Eskom millions of rands and we have a sewer plant problem; we cannot afford to lose money for gifts," she said.

Schalk referred all questions to the communication unit.

Municipality spokeswoman Kgomotso Mmusi said the council was aware of the allegations but refused to give details, saying the matter was sub judice. We have handed over all the documentations to the Hawks for investigation."