DA lays criminal charges against officials for MFMA contravention

Jacques Smalle the DA Limpopo Provincial Leader has laid criminal charges (Case Number CAS 15/8/2012) at Modjadjiskloof Police Station against the former Municipal Manager, Chief Financial Officer and the Technical Director of Greater Letaba Municipality for contravening provisions of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).

This is after these officials, at the very least recklessly, approved in 2011 a payment of R2, 5 million to former employee of Star Mill Developers, a company that was contracted to construct roads and storm water infrastructure in Modjadjiskloof. This payment was effected without proper checks, apparently when this employee had merely made a claim to the Municipality that the tender was theirs.

The main contractor had failed to carry out its responsibilities under the tender agreement. Rather than these municipal officials demanding full performance by the contractor or the return of money already paid, they went ahead to approve payments to this disgruntled employee.

The MFMA makes it clear that it is an offence under section 173 for any official to spend any money belonging to the Municipality, either negligently or in an unauthorised manner. The police must now probe how a person who never had any contractual tender agreement with the municipality ended up being paid millions of rands.

The fact that this transaction was approved by these officials when they still held these positions does not erase their previous wrong doings and they should still be held accountable now. This will serve as a deterrent for future for future officials who might want to do the same.

To this day Modjadjiskloof still has undeveloped road and storm water infrastructure and yet millions have already been paid.

Despite the numerous attempts by the Democratic Alliance at this Municipality to warn about the illegality of this transaction, the officials who were entrusted with the responsibility of doing due process with finance expenditures failed to do their job.

The law places very strict responsibilities on officials who are entrusted with public money. The DA will ensure that proper tender procedures are always followed and that officials are made to account for the manner in which they handle public’s money.


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