Emfuleni local municipality council chairman Maipato Tsokolibane for months suppressed council discussions over an irregular Opulentia insurance contract, now linked to one of the most powerful men in the ruling ANC at the national level, the advisers said.
The contract is worth 3.6 million rand per month for an 18-month period, ending in August 2021, the municipality confirmed.
Tsokolibane – a key ally of former mayor and current ANC secretary Jacob Khawe – was the main conspirator in the coup plot to illegally suspend city manager Lucky Leseane, in order to prevent Opulentia and other anti-corruption reports to be discussed openly in council, the Sedibeng Ster reported.
The Golden Triangle Chamber of Commerce (GTCoC) has again demanded the removal of Tsokolibane as “the center of ongoing efforts to thwart anti-corruption cleanup operations” in the municipality.
“Tsokolibane has to leave – the sooner the better with his close friend CFO [chief financial officer] Andile Dyakala for directly conspiring and undermining the democratic accountability process in the board on many issues, of which Opulentia is just the latest, ”said GTCoC CEO Klippies Kritzinger.
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The labor court recently overturned the supposed “suspension” by the council, but the Tsokoliban faction bought time to prevent the Opulentia report from being discussed by the council, saying they wanted to see the report first.
However, this was refused by the municipality’s audit committee because Tsokolibane and the chief whip of the ANC. [Christina Sale] in council had already tried to tamper with the previous Comperio report into irregular contracts by removing from the report the name of the former interim municipal director Oupa Nkoane.
Tsokolibane has been widely criticized for manipulating council meetings and reports in order to protect her allies in the municipality, such as Nkoane and Dyakala, from disciplinary action and dealing with consequences.
Now Khawe is said to be linked through his alleged girlfriend, part-time manager of Opulentia, to the contract award.
However, Khawe denied influencing the award of the contract.
The Opulentia contract was originally formulated and facilitated by Nkoane, which is linked to widespread financial mismanagement by the municipality and the destruction of the smart meter revenue stream.
Sedibeng Ster asked the municipality questions about the Opulentia case and received the following response: “We can confirm that the municipality [between May 2019 and February 2020)] initiated the purchase of insurance brokerage services.
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“However, this process was hampered by delays, including the criteria for selecting the bids, the reconstitution of the bid evaluation committee [BEC], and the unavailability of some committee members to attend meetings, among other internal administrative challenges.
“Due to these procedural delays in the tendering process, the municipality, under the direction and leadership of its former accountant [Oupa Nkoane], initiated a settlement process 32 with the municipality of Matjhabeng.
“In the implementation of the Financial Recovery Plan, an eight-pillar recovery action plan approved by the Gauteng Provincial Government to improve the financial performance and service delivery of the municipality.
“The municipality has entered into an 18-month contract [4 February 2020 to August 2021] service level agreement with Fezi Auditors & Consultants [trading as Opulentia], for short-term insurance brokerage, brokerage and risk advisory services, at a monthly cost of R 3.6 million.
“We can confirm that the internal audit department has filed a report advising the board on the matter,” the statement said.
This article first appeared on Sedibeng Ster and has been republished with permission.
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