The North West (NW) Provincial Public Accounts Committee (PPAC) demands an explanation from Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality (RMLM) regarding the R5.6 million community hall, abandoned and alleged to be the product of corruption.
The chairperson of NW PPAC, Job Dliso, was accompanied by Mmoloki Cwaile who is a member of the provincial legislature (MPL) and RMLM during the committee’s Oversight Week in the cash-strapped municipality which was under provincial administration before going into the recent 2021 local government elections.
Dliso instructed the municipal manager to submit a structural assessment plan done by an engineer within 7 working days. Although the 7 days have passed, NW Standing Committee On Public Accounts (Scopa) spokesperson, Namhla Luhabe confirmed that the municipality has not sent anything to the legislature as per the instruction of Scopa during the visit.
“We want a structural assessment plan from the municipal manager within 7 working days prepared by an engineer. Those plans should show why the hall was built, the maintenance plan, how are you going to pay all these things which include the security personnel. Those plans will determine whether there was a value for money or not when building this community hall,” Dliso said.
The committee is responsible for holding government entities accountable, and visited 3 projects. The first project was a community hall in Mokgola village, a stadium in Borakalalo, and Menchester water supply project in Lehurutshe.
The community hall has not been officially opened or used by the community. Many residents are not keen to use the facility as they believe that it is a monument of corruption.
Looking at the community hall, it does not appear to be possible to have cost a staggering R5.6 million. In a community of around 11 000 people, the facility can approximately accommodate less than 150 people, and the parking lot is only enough to accommodate 5 cars inside its yard.
Dliso was not impressed by the community hall, and said “We also need to question contractors because it does not make sense for someone with knowledge on a particular area to do what they have done here. We need to get to the bottom of this.”
When you are a few meters away from the facility, the only thing one can see is the fence and the grass covering the building (hall). It is only when you are close to the fence that you can notice that there is a building.
The cars belonging to the committee members and those accompanying them could not make the entrance because of the grass, and the fact that the space is too small to accommodate all of them so they parked outside, and the traffic officer looked after their cars while we walked around the building.
The hall is literally empty, there is only a four-plate Defy stove which appears to not have been used before. There are two toilets but no water as the pressure pump has been stolen.
The air conditioners are not working, the walls are showing cracks while windows are broken.
Part of the fence is collapsing. The grass is so overgrown that the committee could not tell if there was paving inside the yard, although money was spent on pavement.
Responding to Newsi, MPL Cwaile said “Everyone who is responsible for any wrongdoing will be brought to book. It does not matter if the person is in office or not, the South African law allows for a person to face the might of the law as long as it was committed within the 25 years of apprehension,” Cwaile warned.
Some residents believe and hope that it could be turned into an information centre (a computer laboratory) while others claim that they would never associate themselves with corruption by using this hall.
“It was a waste of money. They could have used the money to build 150 RDP houses for 150 families which are in desperate need, rather than to waste money in something that is not going to change anyone’s life,” Thabo Mokotedi said.