Suspended Rand West City municipal manager faces probe for R1.5bn ’fruitless, wasteful’ expenditure
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Johannesburg - A Gauteng municipal manager suspended after allegedly incurring R1.5 billion in unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, was this week forced to hand over his electronic gadgets to the law firm appointed to investigate the matter.
Rand West City Local Municipality municipal manager Themba Goba is under fire for allegedly mismanaging its finances in the period since his appointment in July 2017 and an initial probe recommended disciplinary action against him.
The municipality this week approached the Labour Court in Braamfontein, Johannesburg to force Goba to hand over the laptop, cellphone and iPad it subsidised to Mncedisi Ndlovu and Sedumedi (MNS) Attorneys, who have been appointed to represent investigate Rand West City.
It also wanted his keys and other assets.
Judge Connie Prinsloo on Tuesday ordered Goba to hand over the laptop that belonged to the Applicant as well as the cellular phone and iPad subsidised by the Randfontein-based municipality in terms of its cellphone policy.
“The aforesaid electronic devices are to be handed over to MNS Attorneys as appointed representatives of the applicant (Rand West City). The aforesaid electronic devices are to be handed over to MNS Attorneys within 24 hours from the handing down of this judgment,” reads Judge Prinsloo’s order.
According to the judgment, the return and handing over of the electronic devices are pending the finalisation of an investigation, and if necessary, pending the finalisation of Goba’s disciplinary hearing.
Goba was also ordered to pay Rand West City’s costs, including the cost of one counsel but limited to 50% of the taxed costs.
His troubles started after an audit report prepared by the Office of Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke for the 2019/20 financial year uncovered R1.5bn unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
Rand West City’s municipal public accounts committee (MPAC) conducted its oversight role regarding the unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure and recommended that Goba be suspended from his duties as a precautionary measure for the entire period of investigations to avoid interference.
Gauteng Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs MEC Lebogang Maile appointed Advocate William Mokhari SC to investigate the matter.
In his report, Mokhari recommended that the municipality’s counsel should immediately and urgently take steps to commence the process of suspending Goba from office pending an investigation on his gross misconduct or the disciplinary inquiry to be instituted against him.
The probe also recommended that disciplinary proceedings should be instituted against Goba for gross misconduct and directed Rand West City to fully implement all the recommendations expeditiously and to provide Maile with an action plan indicating how the report will be implemented.
Last month, MNS Attorneys demanded that Goba to return the electronic devices including his laptop, iPad and cellular phone but failed to do so by the stated deadline of June 18.
He was also warned that should he fail to return the devices, further steps would be taken to recover them.
Goba’s troubles are far from over as he faces criminal charges laid by minority rights group AfriForum for the pollution of rivers by sewage in the municipality’s area of jurisdiction.
He was due to appear before the Randfontein Magistrate’s Court on June 23 but failed leading to a warrant of arrest being issued against him.
Goba will be back in court next Thursday and the case is ready to go on trial and AfriForum also wants him held in contempt of court.