The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the fact that after our relentless pressure, action is finally being taken against some of the mayors involved in the VBS scandal. Shamefully, action has not been taken against all implicated individuals.
No action has been taken against mayors in Gauteng, which is an absolute disgrace. There has also been no action taken against the municipal managers or the chief financial officers of the implicated municipalities.
Most disgraceful is that there has been absolutely nothing done against the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Zweli Mkhize, who has been implicated in the saga, and who has criticised the DA’s decision to lay criminal charges against all implicated individuals, including himself.
The DA calls for the mayor of Merafong, Maphefo Letsie, and the mayor of the West Rand District Municipality, Boyce Maneli, to be fired immediately along with all the municipal managers and chief financial officers that allowed these illegal investments to take place.
The Merafong Municipality illegally invested R55 million with VBS under the watch of Letsie. The money that was invested was from conditional grants which were meant for infrastructure, water service infrastructure and housing as confirmed by COGTA to Parliament.
The West Rand District Municipality on the other hand illegally invested R77 million with VBS under the watch of Maneli. As a result, the municipality was forced to stop multiple projects such as the Construction of Roads and Maintenance Project and the Droogehheuwel Bulk Water Supply Programme.
The VBS heist demonstrates the extent of mismanagement and a deep administrative crisis at local government level, where municipal managers and the chief financial officers of the implicated municipalities were complacent and/or colluded with the corrupt ANC and EFF politicians.
The VBS heist has impacted thousands of South Africans. Service delivery is being delayed, and businesses have been affected by the failure of some municipalities to pay invoices to local businesses.
The local economies of these municipalities have been stunned in terms of creating jobs as projects had to be stopped.
All the implicated individuals, including those that stepped down or have been fired, must still be held accountable and criminal prosecutions need to take place. The DA will continue to fight corruption, and hold those robbing people of their dignity accountable.
Under a DA government, anyone found guilty of corruption will be sentenced to 15 years in jail and we will ensure that all public money is spent on the people.