Councillor uses ratepayers’ funds for home music studio

... then has DA and press arrested for trespass/

A SENIOR manager in Matatiele municipality, accused of using municipal funds to build a recording studio in her house, has charged a councillor and journalist with trespassing.

The two went to her home to inspect the studio.

On Thursday police arrested The Informer newspaper reporter Andile Nomabhunga and DA councillor Kenneth Biggs for allegedly trespassing on special programmes unit manager Nontsikelelo Madubaduba’s private property.

Madubaduba and her husband later pressed charges.

After spending some time in the police station, the two were released on warning. They will appear in court tomorrow.

Speaking to the Daily Dispatch after being released, Nomabunga said he had gone to take pictures of the studio.

“I told the municipality’s communications manager that I wanted to go there and she said they needed permission from Mrs Madubaduba.

“After she gave me the runaround, I decided to go. Indeed the studio was there and the Jaziel Brothers were on site. They allowed me to take pictures and Mrs Madubaduba was there as well. I was surprised to find police at my house on Thursday, saying I was being charged for trespassing.”

The recording studio in question was allegedly built with funds meant for a talent search project initiated by the Jaziel Brothers.

They come from Matatiele and, according to a municipal report, approached the municipality to fund the talent search.

The project would later cost the cash-strapped municipality R650 000 including accommodation, flights and catering for the duo and contestants. It also paid for studio time and workshops about the music industry with presentations from Somizi Mhlongo, Slikour, Loyiso Bala and other artists.

Musicians were paid R5 000 each for their presentations.

The 20 artists chosen by the Jaziel Brothers were meant to go to Johannesburg to record their albums but plans changed and Madubaduba apparently told the special projects’ standing committee that the recording would be done in Matatiele. The studio was then allegedly installed in her house with funds from the project.

Matatiele municipal manager Tshepang Nakin said he was not aware of any studio built with municipal funds.

“I have yet to receive a report on the talent search, so I am not aware of any studio that was paid for by the municipality. I will have to find out about that,” said Nakin.

Opposition party councillors were outraged.

DA councillor Wonga Potwana said: “She has to tell council how exactly municipal funds ended up paying for the studio in her house.

“Were there no other buildings to be used? We need answers. This is blatant misuse of council funds and it is unfortunate that my colleague was arrested while playing his oversight role,” said Potwana.

African Independent Congress councillor Nozuko Njobe, who is part of the standing committee, said the committee was never told about the studio in Madubaduba’s house.

“We heard about this after she had asked for more money from the committee.

“We knew that the artists would go to Johannesburg for recording. We were never informed that there was a change of plan and that the studio would now be in her house.”

Madubaduba could not be reached for comment. —

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