South Africa News

Fraud allegations rock Sekhukhune municipality as agency investigated

Police are probing allegations of fraud against the Sekhukhune Development Agency (SDA) involving more than R400,000 budgeted to fight poverty among the youth, women and people living with disabilities.

The SDA is a subsidiary of the Sekhukhune district municipality (SDM) and its main function is to provide strategic economic programmes towards inclusive growth and job creation on behalf of the municipality.

The Citizen reported three weeks ago about R18 million deposited in tranches by SDM officials to “wrong accounts” between 2018 to 2021.

“Yes, we can confirm that we are investigating a case of fraud against the [SDA]. The case was opened at the Polokwane police station this month” Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said.

Councillor Seun Mokgotji, said the region was always beset by controversy.

“We have learnt with disappointment that R460,000 was deposited into an account belonging to a service provider, who allegedly rendered a legal service for the agency some 10 years ago,” he said.

“This is not a war. All we want is an explanation as to why the board kept mum about this. Why a legal debt that happened some 10 years ago only got to be paid now. The alleged fraud was noticed in April but three months later, no action was taken.

“I smell a rat here. Is this one of their plans to turn the agency into their cash cow? The law must definitely take its course.”

A municipal source, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said the matter has not been officially reported to the council.

“The mayor is very perturbed about this. You know how strongly she spoke against fraud, corruption and maladministration during her recent state of the district address.

“She is not going to seat back and watch. I am telling you, heads are going to roll,” the source said.

Acting municipal spokesperson Khomotso Ndlovu said “the council would only comment after it has been officially briefed”.

SDA’s acting chief executive Mantwa Makanyane also confirmed the police probe.

“It is true that we have deposited R460,000 to the account of the service provider,” she said on Tuesday.

“We have received a court order from the High Court in Pretoria to pay the firm for a job they have rendered on behalf of the agency.

“We then followed all due processes and paid the money. However, there is nothing untoward about the payment because we have done everything by the book.”

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