by Vicky Somniso-Abraham 13 May 2015 10h30
Ventersdorp Municipality in North West is in danger of collapsing from poor management.
Under the leadership of ANC mayor Celia Phoyane, the municipality has been accused of poor service delivery, corruption, maladministration and mismanagement of funds.
Claims that the mayor has issued tenders to her friends and relatives, illegally appointed staff and rigged tenders are doing the rounds, but the ANC continues to back her.
Under Phoyane’s watch, more than a R1 million was lost under the guise of building an indoor swimming pool.
At least R1.3 million was spent on paving an isolated park and another R1.2 million meant for sports facilities disappeared.
The Citizen team visiting Ventersdorp found that the park and swimming pool on which the municipality claimed it spent millions of rands did not exist. The so-called park was just a patch of bushveld with a little paving.
The municipality had bought three farms to build houses on, but not a single RDP house had been erected there.
Issues of poor service delivery, including water problems, burst sewerage pipes left unattended for weeks and uncollected rubbish have troubled the town, say residents.
Water provision is interrrupted every day from 7am to 5pm.
The Citizen team found no water available, even at the municipal offices. In some areas the water, when available, produced a white foam that caused diarrhoea, some community members claimed.
Community leader Khuduga Dibe, who has led service delivery protests in the area, said the ANC was defending the mayor despite the claims against her.
“We have a strong belief that she is the only one who is protected in Ventersdorp. If she gets suspended, the whole of the ANC comes to the Ventersdorp to defend her.”
United Front local coordinator Pule Plaatjie said: “In Ventersdorp things that are abnormal are normal, and those that are not normal, they make them normal with the blessings of the ANC.”
Mayor Phoyane said: “Those people belong to the opposition party … Some of them are trying to position themselves because we are now facing the local government elections.”
One of the farms on which RDP houses were supposed to be built had been bought for agricultural purposes before she became mayor, she claimed.
The problems with the park had occurred prior to 2005 and 2006, before she took office [in 2006], she said.
“It was supposed to be funded by the lottery board but they took their money back”.
Sewage spills out into the backyard of a property in Ventersdorp, 05 May 2015. Picture: Refilwe Modise