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DA says former municipal manager implicated in VBS saga should not be employed in similar position

The DA says a former municipal manager at a Limpopo municipality should not be considered for a similar position at another public entity. File photo.
The DA says a former municipal manager at a Limpopo municipality should not be considered for a similar position at another public entity. File photo.
Image: Antonio Muchave

The DA in Limpopo says it would be “unfair” and unlawful to appoint a former municipal manager who was implicated in the illegal investment of public money in the VBS Mutual Bank to a similar position at another municipality.

Monica Mathibela is believed to be a candidate shortlisted for the position of municipal manager at the Dr JS Moroka municipality in Mpumalanga — one of the worst-performing municipalities in the country.

She and three other officials who worked at Ephraim Mogale municipality in Limpopo were alleged to have approved a deposit of R82m into VBS.

Sowetan reported that a forensic report into the municipality had recommended that Mathibela be suspended for three months without pay.

“The sanction comes after Mathibela pleaded guilty in a disciplinary hearing to three of five charges, including misconduct for contravening sections of the Municipal Financial Management Act (MFMA),” the publication reported.

According to Sowetan, investigators who compiled the report recommended that Mathibela be ordered to attend short courses in “management, investment and finance to sharpen her management skills, particularly in investment”.

DA councillor Flip Jacobs said the party had recommended that she be fired.

“We opted for her to be fired and they said they [Ephraim Mogale municipality] could not do that until the VBS investigation was complete,” Jacobs said. “What she did was against the law and it’s not fair that she should now be considered for a position at another municipality, because she stole from the previous municipality ...

" Jacobs said.

Cogta Mpumalanga spokesperson Lindiwe Msibi said the department would comment on the matter once the recruitment process was done.

“The recruitment process is under way and as a department we are going to allow the process to be concluded, then will respond accordingly,” she said.

Asked for comment, Mathibela said: “This is not a matter I can speak about over the phone.”

Executive mayor at Dr JS Moroka municipality Nomsa Mtsweni said shortlisted candidates were vetted and cleared, including Mathibela. She said candidates weren't interviewed without being vetted and cleared.

“During the interviews we ask people about them being involved in criminal cases or whatever. She [Mathibela] explained that that thing was there and it has been cleared,” Mtsweni said.

The municipality was placed under administration in 2020 after allegations of corruption.

According to Sowetan, the Mpumalanga government's provincial executive committee resolved to place the municipality under administration after months of infighting which had hampered service delivery.

“The provincial government said in a statement the decision to put the municipality under administration was informed by the “instances of administrative and leadership challenges leading to unrest, making it impossible for the municipality to deliver basic services,” Sowetan said.

The Sunday Times reported in 2019 that the municipality’s mayor William Madileng racked up a R223,669 bill while travelling 63,334km, mostly outside the municipality's jurisdiction, in the council's Audi Q7.

The cost included R156,424 in fuel and toll fees and a further R67,245 for repairs to the official vehicle.

Madileng stepped down in 2020, nine months after the municipality was placed under administration.