Limpopo municipality allegedly spent R1-million on 24 laptops

A Limpopo municipality has allegedly spent R1-million on 24 laptops with an estimated price tag of around R34 000 each – it’s unclear what type of laptops or models they are.

Concerned opposition politicians at the Sekhukhune district municipality are now demanding answers regarding the authorisation process attached to the IT department’s expenditure.

Secretary-general of the Bolsheviks Party SA, Seun Mogotji, said they were eager to ensure transparency and accountability within the municipality, especially following the recent arrests of a number of officials on corruption allegations.

“Can the executive mayor and the acting municipal manager bring us into their confidence about how the municipality’s IT department was authorised to purchase 24 laptops at approximately R34 000 each?”

Mogotji said it had come to light that the Intel Inspiron brand’s top-tier laptop model commands a price range of R14 000 to R16 000 per unit.

He said the R988 000 price for 24 laptops not only raised eyebrows but left many to wonder how such valuations were made.

He said with the ever-increasing reliance on technology in the public sector, it was imperative that the procurement of these laptops adhered to the highest standards of governance.

“The mayor and acting municipal manager, as guardians of public funds, should shed light on the authorisation process and put to rest any concerns regarding potential mismanagement or impropriety, responded Mogotji.

“Sekhukhune district municipality officials are behaving as if the municipal funds are a ‘piggy bank’.

“It seems anytime an official is in a financial fix, the first stop is the municipal funds.

“It also seems the grey matter of municipality officials is swimming in corruption so much so that they cannot see anything wrong with ripping off the municipality,” Mogotji said.

Executives of the district municipality have come under scrutiny in the past for their alleged cavalier handling of municipal funds, with reports suggesting that the financial resources are believed by certain municipal officials to be for personal use.

Municipal officials have been accused of being entrenched in corruption.

Allegations suggesting an inability to acknowledge any ethical concerns surrounding the embezzlement of municipal funds.

Since being asked to provide clarity on the laptops on Tuesday, district spokesperson Kgetjepe Maredi no longer answers his phone.

This is not the first time that the district municipality has made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) officers detained former municipal officer Andries Makgotho, 45, and service providers Bongani Masupye, 34, and Shivhadana Murovhi, 39, in Polokwane on suspicion of fraud amounting over R5-million.

According to Lieut-Col Matimba Maluleke, provincial spokesperson for the Hawks, the municipality awarded tenders to multiple businesses to offer security services totalling over R5-million.

He said that former municipal CFO and senior administration officer Kedibone Magagane were suspected of working in collusion with businesses that
did not provide any services in order to steal money from taxpayers and divide it among themselves.

Maluleke said the Hawks were tipped off about the situation, which led to a take-down and the arrest of the four suspects in Groblersdal last week.

He said Magagane managed to elude capture at first but eventually turned herself in to the Hawks.

The four suspects are expected to apply for bail at the Groblersdal magistrate’s court soon, according to Maluleke.

“The former CFO of the Sekhukhune district municipality, who had been on the run, also handed himself in to the Hawks and will also appear in court,” he said.

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