Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality (previously known as Zeerust Local Municipality) is one of the eight municipalities which were put under administration following a 2018 diagnostic report on the state of municipalities.
Despite the almost six months the administrator has been in office, the situation has not changed. The municipality finds it difficult to pay salaries, Eskom, law firms and other service providers. The administrator initially promised to bring a team of experts on board, but this is yet to materialise.
According to one municipal employee who spoke to Political Analysis South Africa on the condition of anonymity, the situation was “under control” during the tenure of the former mayor, Afrika Thale, who was allegedly forced to leave his office because he did not receive “blessings”(sic) from the then premier, Supra Mahumapelo.
Residents in Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality also allege that Councillors illegally appointed the acting municipality manager, Thomson Phakalane, on 23 December 2015. The former Acting Human settlements MEC in the North West, Fenny Gaolaolwe, also charges that Phakalane’s qualifications do not meet the requirements needed to fill the role. Thomson Phakalane reportedly earns more than R80 000 a month and his term was supposed to have ended in March 2016.
The municipality received an Unqualified Opinion audit during the 2014/15 financial year under the then mayor, Afrika Thale.
According to employees at the municipality, accounts belonging to the municipality were depleted in less than three months after taking over after Thale’s departure from office, resulting in unpaid Eskom bills. One employee said “We used to pay R500 000 per week to Eskom” but that they could not continue to pay “after forcefully removing Mayor Thale because they hiked their salaries and gave their friends tenders.”
Meanwhile, the Labour Court ordered that Samuel Motlamme be reinstated, with immediate effect, as Director of Corporate Services as he was unlawfully suspended from his position. Motlamme, however, claims that he was prevented from entering the municipality offices despite the court order.
Political Analysis South Africa visited the municipal offices for comment but did not receive a response.