ActionSA lays criminal charge against Kopanong Municipality official

ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula. | Itumeleng English Independent Newspapers

ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula. | Itumeleng English Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 21, 2024


Kopanong Municipality workers in the Free State are forced to live on handouts due to the municipality’s failure to pay its debtors, service providers and salaries .

Dibuseng Mokoena, a municipal employee, said life was difficult for her as she must constantly live from hand to month as she struggled to pay her debts and be able to buy food as they were not being paid their salaries on time every month.

Mokoena said as the breadwinner at home, everything rested on her shoulders.

“I am forced to go to loan sharks to borrow money every month. The interest is just too much because every time I get paid I got pay interest for us to have money to buy food. I really want to finish off the loan but with the current situation we are faced with at the municipality, it is impossible to,” she said.

Another employee, Petros Sithole, told The Star he did not remember when last he had his identity document because was at a loan shark’s house.

Sithole said it was not just his ID that was there, but his bank card as well.

“Every month end I go at this lady’s house to get whatever money that is left, because before I can even withdraw money, she must first take hers, then I can withdraw,” he said.

Sithole said the situation was not ideal, but there was no other way. Circumstance had forced him into that situation.

He said the majority of municipal employees were living like this because they had to fend for their families. Failure to do so could result in their families languishing in poverty.

The Kopanong situation prompted the ActionSA leader in the province, Patricia Kopane, to lay criminal charges against the accounting officer of the municipality.

Kopane said she opened a case against the accounting officer because this official played an integral role in “defrauding recipients” of the municipality, who were entitled to their pension fund transfers.

According to Kopane, the party decided to take the matter to the police after receiving complaints from municipal workers.

She said that in December last year, the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) affiliated workers’ pension funds, valued at millions of rand, were attached to the municipality’s account due to debt owed to creditors.

The municipality had been in the spotlight again when its mayor, Xolani Tseletsele, was suspended for verbally attacking a resident for raising delivery service complains on Facebook.

In the video, the mayor can be seen berating the resident who it is believed had complained on Facebook about potholes.

At the time, ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbabula announced that Tseletsele would undergo disciplinary processes.

Mbalula described Tseletsele’s behaviour as disgusting and a threat to the ANC brand.

“Gone are the days of asinavalo. We must have fear of our people, even if they swear at us, (or) show their anger at us,” he said at the time.

The Star

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