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Municipal manager put on ice over VBS scandal continues to draw full salary

A branch of VBS Mutual Bank in Thohoyandou, Limpopo. File photo.
A branch of VBS Mutual Bank in Thohoyandou, Limpopo. File photo.
Image: Antonio Muchave

A municipal manager in Limpopo who was suspended amid the VBS Mutual scandal continues to receive his full salary, parliament's portfolio committee on co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) revealed on Wednesday.

The committee heard that the hefty salaries being paid out to non-working personnel added to the municipalities' failure to recover after having lost millions following VBS’ demise.

"In Elias Motsoaledi Local Municipality, the municipality spent over R900,000 so far remunerating the suspended municipal manager, who has been sitting at home drawing a salary. This amount includes the acting allowance that the current acting manager is being paid to act in the position.

"What is even more worrying is that the disciplinary process has been postponed indefinitely since April 30 2019, with no clear timeline for the resumption of the process," the committee said in a statement.

This was, the committee heard, despite an investigation by Limpopo’s co-operative governance, human settlements and traditional affairs MEC - and various municipal councils - finding that the officials, mainly municipal managers and chief financial officers, committed financial misconduct.

Commitee chair Faith Muthambi said the R900,000 was not inclusive of legal fees that the municipality was forking out to deal with the case against the accused.

"Many municipalities have long completed the disciplinary process with the municipal manager and chief financial officer, but there is seemingly no commitment from the leadership of Elias Motsoaledi to deal with the matter expeditiously. This matter smells of malicious non compliance," Muthambi said.

The committee had since received a commitment that the matter would be addressed within the next 30 days.

Limpopo municipalities continue to suffer due to the VBS saga with some reportedly struggling to pay service providers on time and others failing to carry out service delivery plans.