Moqhaka Municipality spent R100 million on non-existent sewage plant – source

Executive mayor of Moqhaka Municipality Motlogeloa Mokatsane. Picture: Supplied

Executive mayor of Moqhaka Municipality Motlogeloa Mokatsane. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 12, 2024


More than R100 million that had been budgeted to refurbish a sewage plant has been squandered by the Moqhaka Municipality, according to a source inside the municipality.

In September 2021, former deputy president David Mabuza had instructed municipal officials to fix the activated-sludge sewage works, and by May 5, the sludge was proclaimed functional by executive mayor Motlogeloa Mokatsane and his team of officials.

According to the source, he was surprised to learn that in 2022, the same activated-sludge plant was included in a tender scope due for refurbishment after the auditor-general report noted the R10-million refurbishment.

“After a visit to the sewage plant in February 2024, it was confirmed by the operator that only one of the two refurbished screw pumps was working, both sand pumps were removed, the flow meters were not functional, one of the three mixers were not functioning, three of the six aerators were not functional, another small screw pump removed and the co-ordinator has never functioned since it was apparently refurbished,” the source detailed.

The source also revealed that the biological sewage works was budgeted to be repaired at R15m.

Upon the acting manager advocate Mzwakhe Mofokeng’s request for an additional R80m to complete the plant, the municipality was still unable to get the sewer plant functional.

At the time, Mabuza committed on national television that by December 15, 2021, no raw sewage would enter the Vaal River.

“This did not materialise but the ANC used the public participation process to swindle more than R100m out of the state coffers and continue to loot our country,” the source claimed.

The publication’s attempts to get comment from Free State ANC spokesperson Jabu Mbalula was unsuccessful.

Mokatsane denied that the municipality had spent R80m on the sewage plant.

“If this is in reference to the Kroonstad Wastewater Treatment Works, the construction is still taking place, the contractor is on site. The municipality hasn’t spent R80m as suggested. We’ve spent about R20m so far,” the mayor explained.

Maokeng resident Mokete Moleko said he was not surprised at the extent of corruption that was taking place at the municipality.

Moleko said the majority of Maokeng residents were aware of these tendencies as they started with simple things as the recruitments in the municipality.

“I honestly couldn’t care less about stuff happening at that municipality. Those don’t care about our needs, as residents. I can’t remember when last time the mayor or his staff called a meeting for the community.

“But they will be all over the township now that we are nearing elections, promising us heaven and earth, then leave us high and dry after them,” the angry resident explained.

Activists and Citizens Forum spokesperson Dennis Bloem said the situation in the Moqhaka council was no different from the rest of the Free State.

“The solution to the dire state of municipalities in the Free State is to place all municipalities under administration. The residents of the Free State are suffering.

“The suspension of the municipal manager by a group of ANC councillors, in the face of opposition from the opposition parties in the council, shows clearly that these people don’t respect the laws of the country.

“Activists and Citizens Forum condemn this unacceptable disrespect for the law by people who took an oath to respect the Constitution and the law of the country,” Bloem said.

On the suspension of the municipal manager, he said instead of concentrating on improving service delivery to the residents of Moqhaka, they were busy suspending each other.

“Instead of fixing the water problem, fixing roads and addressing the crippling unemployment, the community is alleging serious corruption in the municipality.”

Bloem called on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Thembi Nkadimeng to immediately place Moqhaka Municipality under administration.

The Star