The Democratic Alliance (DA) has made an urgent call on the Ga-magara Council to fire the acting Municipal Manger (MM) and Chief Finan-cial Officer (CFO), Moses Grond, said Melinda Hattingh MPL and the DA Con-stituency Head of the Kalahari.
Ms Hattingh said that whilst the finan-cial state of the debt-ridden Gamagara municipality has spiraled completely out of control, Mr Grond has become a law unto himself. He reports to himself and he alone signs off and approves pay-ments.
The lavish lifestyle of Mr Grond, better known as the “Maserati man” due to his penchant for luxurious cars, including a Maserati and a newly purchased BMW X6M, is an insult to a community suffer-ing under the municipality's service deli-very failures.
Ms Hattingh said that the DA believes that financial mismanagement and sub-sequent poor service delivery can be tra-ced back directly to Mr Grond.
Shocking details pertaining to the mu-nicipality's mounting debt are being ex-posed.
In a very selective and manipulative media statement, the municipality re-leased figures relating to debt owed to Eskom (R55-million) and Sedibeng Water Board (R8,4-million) on Tuesday 28 November 2017. At the same time, the municipality insinuated that residents are somehow responsible for Gamaga-ra's self-made financial crisis. This is despite the municipality's billing system which is wrought with flaws. The truth is that residents, some of whom are willing to pay outstanding municipal debt in a single swipe, and who stand in long que-ues, are unable to do so, due to the lack of available accurate billing information.
Ms Hattingh says that the DA considers the municipality's sudden communica-tion via the media to be a ploy to distract attention from the worsening financial situation in the Gamagara municipality. Pointing to its revenue streams as being its only problem, is a feeble attempt to di-vert attention away from obscene expen-ses. In fact, says Ms Hattingh, the DA knows for certain that the debt owed to Eskom and Sedibeng are just the tip of the iceberg and that the full extent of the municipality's financial state has not yet been disclosed.
Other municipal debt include R62-mil-lion owed to Anglo American after it lost the court case against the disastrous property evaluations ; R7.6-million ow-ed to John Taolo Gaetsewe district muni-cipality after at least two payment agree-ments were not honoured by Mr Grond ; and the municipality is also believed to be in arrears on its repayments to the De-velopment Bank of South Africa, with whom it has a loan agreement. It is further believed that an attempt to rene-gotiate the terms of this loan, and re-con-solidate its debt in order to meet its burn-ing obligations, has not been sanctioned.
DA councillors in Gamagara municipa-lity have submitted a motion with notice, demanding that Mayor Edwin Hantise immediately removes Mr Grond from the positions of acting MM and CFO. They are also seeking a full disclosure of the financial situation of the municipality.
“The motion is expected to be tabled at a Special Council Meeting, however, if the DA's demands are not met, we will not hesitate to report the matter to the Public Protector for further investiga-tion,” said Ms Hattingh.
“It is increasingly clear that vitally im-portant financial information is being will-fully, and possibly illegally, withheld from councillors,” concluded Ms Hattingh.
DA demands MM & CFO’s head
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