Mpumalanga MEC to probe R27 million Covid-19 budget expenditure

Mpumalanga MEC to probe R27 million Covid-19 budget expenditure

- A municipal manager has been fingered in a probe involving the spending of R27 million

- Mpumalanga municipal official Daniel Ngwenya appointed himself to oversee the Covid-19 budget

- The EFF has highlighted that abuse of power at municipal levels has been increasing

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The Mpumalanga Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department is set to investigate how a municipal manager of a rural Mpumalanga municipality allegedly appointed himself to be the sole administrator of a R27.3 million Covid-19 budget.

Mpumalanga MEC Mandla Msibi said that he was not aware that Nkomazi Local Municipality Manager Daniel Ngwenya had allegedly been spending the Covid-19 budget without following any procurement processes and regulations.

Msibi promised that the matter would be investigated.

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Some Nkomazi Municipality officials have been left wondering how Ngwenya has been spending the council’s money during the lockdown period without a bidding process, as is required for expenditure of amounts above R200 000 by the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) and Treasury regulations.

The regulations state that in transactions lower than R200 000, three quotations must be sourced from suppliers and service providers.

Ngwenya is not the first municipal official during this period to be accused of questionable behaviour. reported that another municipal manager had received a 48% salary increase during lockdown.

In cases of emergency when supply chain management processes cannot be followed, approval must be sought from Treasury.

Ngwenya’s reasons for hogging the budget have not been explained, according to insiders in the municipality’s management, reported News24.

The funds that Ngwenya has been spending include R15 million for the hiring of water trucks to deliver water to communities, R12 million to purchase protective clothing (masks) and sanitisers, and R350 000 for loud-hailing equipment to spread important messages about the epidemic.

An insider questioned the expenditure. He said:

"For R15 million the municipality could buy its own water tankers. He appoints whoever he wants and no one knows the criteria he uses to pick these companies. These people also do nothing much because they go to the municipality’s treatment works plants to collect water and transport it to communities."

The EFF’s provincial chairperson, Collen Sedibe, alleged that abuse of power by senior officials in municipalities and provincial departments during the Covid-19 pandemic has been widespread.

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