Thaba Chweu sells land for R1 despite R216 million budget shortfall

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

In the run up to the crucial Thaba Chweu Ward 12 by-election on 19 February, the DA’s provincial leadership today visited several problematic service delivery hotspots in Lydenburg.

What we have found is a town and municipality in complete disarray, with almost no functional service delivery mechanisms to see to the needs of residents.

The local landfill site holds the potential for a massave humanitarian disaster. The service provider has not been paid for months, and has subsequently removed all personnel and equipment from all three sites in Lydenburg, Sabie and Graskop.

The site is overflowing, and municipal workers regularly set fire to dumped waste, despite environmental legislation preventing it, and the DA twice laying criminal charges against the municipality in 2013. Click here to view photos of the site.

The DA then visited a property in Extension 2, where the owner, Mr Samora Mlotja absurdly managed to secure the empty stand from the municipality for the ridiculous amount of R1 (One Rand). Mr Mlotja’s company, Full Output CC, is also the appointed service provider to disconnect defaulting consumers’ electricity supply.

Click here to view the deed of sale.

The DA finds this transaction highly suspicious, and firmly believes that Mr Mlotjwa managed to secure the property, and quite possibly the service provision contract, because of his political connections. There is absolutely no other logical explanation why a municipality, which has a R216 million budget shortfall, would sell off its assets at a value far less than the estimated R380 000 market value.

During the past five years, Thaba Chweu has become the symbol of what municipal governance has become under President Jacob Zuma’s ANC and the likes of premier David Mabuza. There has been absolutely no improvement in service delivery ever since the so-called task team was appointed last year, and at this rate, very little improvement seems to be on the cards.

In our ongoing efforts to make life in Thaba Chweu more bearable, the DA will:

  • Write to provincial police commissioner Lt Gen Thulani Ntobela requesting him to provide us with  progress report into the various criminal charges we laid against the municipality during the past three years;
  • We will write to the Public Protector and the Auditor General requesting an investigation into the land deal between the municipality and Mr Mlotjwa, and use every other means to our disposal to have this transaction reversed;
  • Write to cooperative governance MEC SPD Skhosana and demand he release the task team’s reports, or at the very least, provide us with a detailed progress report of the turnaround strategy’s implementation.

What is becoming increasingly clear, is that each and every one of the provincial government’s interventions have failed, and premier Mabuza and his cohorts now have absolutely no choice but to dissolve the council under the auspices of Section 139(1)(c) of the Constitution, and to declare fresh elections.

The DA, with a proven track record of service delivery wherever we govern, stands ready with a plan to make life in Thaba Chweu better