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Community uproar over collapse of R10m project

 

ISAAC RAMOTHWALA

THE community and members of SANCO at Ga-Molepo in Limpopo are angry at the Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa and her subordinates over a report they believe she withheld as an attempt to protect corruption. The Department of Environmental Affairs awarded a private company R10 million contract to fill up dongas in 2016.

The residents say that the company has done a shady work and has spent the money extravagantly and distributing it to its cronies.

They pleaded with the national department to intervene and investigate what the money was spent on and who else was involved in the corrupt activities.

According to SANCO’s Malesela Thaba, the Minister sent officials to the site to check if what she was told by the residents was true. Thaba said that they went back and gave her false report.

“We requested her to send another group of people who will bring cameras and voice recorders so she can hear what we were talking about and so she can see the shady work by the company they appointed.

“She did that and after having seen the pictures she appointed forensic investigators who confirmed that the company did a shady work and has failed to do its work. Now the department does not want to tell us who took the money because the R10 Million has disappeared and nothing has happened in terms of filling up the dongas and building bridges,” Thaba said.

Nethononda Ntwampe who is also a member of SANCO and resident at Ga-Thaba said that “there were people who claimed to come from the Polokwane Municipality who would come with the Councillor from Ga-Thaba who used to come here always when we lodged complaints and pretended to be listening to us. But when they met with the contractor, they got bribed and decided to keep mum about it”.

Apparently, the Department told the contractor to go repair Dongas at Ga-Maja and Ga-Chuene because they were not too big and the Department said that it will accumulate funds for the project at Ga-Thaba because that was the biggest Donga when compared to the ones in the above-mentioned areas.

He said that “We requested a meeting with Edna Molewa who has always been promising to meet with us to give us a report from forensic investigators.

“We requested the meeting because we talked with the investigators who told us that they had already finished with the investigation and told us that it was up to the Minister to release the report but she does not want to bring it to us”.

“Now they sent another company called Milongani construction company to come and finish the project up without having spoken with us. Now we are told that they will hire new workers. They told us to give them 20 people, the very same Councillor we have always been complaining about also give them 20 people and the Royal House from Ga-Molepo to give us 20 people as well,” said Ntwampe.

Thaba added that some of the people who were brought by the Royal House and the Councillor were the ones that they complained about before. He said that he was worried that these people will still continue doing the things we always complained about.

Colin Silima who is the Assistant Director at the Department of Environment Affairs said: “I have just spoken to the people in the office and they are saying that they will be having a meeting with the community and they did promise that they will go down to the site with the forensic report but before that they need to sit down together as officials from the department and decide on a date when they can convene a meeting with the community and also clarify everything to them”.

Silima said that they have not decided on a date when they will be addressing the community but she pleaded with the community to be patient and promised that the forensic report will include all the aspects they wanted clarity on.

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