Report into ANC funding remains buried

The “truth” about how the ANC funded its August 2016 municipal election in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro was expected to be released in May but a forensic report conducted by the council has somehow been buried. Repeated requests for comment from the city’s DA mayor Athol Trollip – who has personally driven the investigation – were curiously unsuccessful. Trollip had said previously that the report would be tabled in May. This did not happen.

DA mayor Athol Trollip

As reported in noses216 and 223, key to the probe was the claim that Mohlaleng Media (Pty) Ltd, owned by Gauteng businessman Mbuso Thabethe, became the de facto procurement wing of the previous ANC-led council, enabling officials to circumvent prescribed financial reporting requirements, hide kickbacks and use council funds to pay for party expenses in the run-up to the local election.

But the matter has by no means gone away. On 4 June this year UDM leader and former deputy mayor in the Trollip-led city council, Mongameli Bobani,  said in an open letter to city speaker Jonathan Lawack, that municipal manager Johann Mettler should be fired for, among others, his role in the Mohlaleng saga.

In an open letter to the council, titled “Allegations of misconduct against the city manager Mr Johann Mettler”, Bobani said the “UDM unequivocally reiterates its demand” for the allegations to be tabled before council. They include “the unlawful extension of scope of work of Mohlaleng Media; irregular termination of employment contracts of senior managers; misappropriation of municipal funds; irregular appointment of Sebata Municipal Solutions; irregular appointment and improper conduct of Gray Moodliar Attorneys; political interference in municipal administration, particularly on forensic investigations and HR management matters; irregular purchasing of the Murray & Roberts building by a municipality; and the irregular commissioning of a Wi-Fi Project through High Mast Light”.

Expenditure related to the allegations against the city manager was costing the municipality “enormous amounts of money” and the sooner they were tabled in council, the better, said Bobani, adding: “This is a legal requirement that must be adhered to by everyone.”

Trollip said in response to requests for comment from Noseweek that the report into Mohlaleng Media had been completed, but because of the repeated delays over the past month in getting the council to pass the budget, no other matters were tabled.

He said the attorneys who were commissioned to compile the report, Brown, Braude and Vlok Inc, had given it to the city and it  was ready for tabling in council  which he hoped would be by mid-July at the latest.

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