Ms T Maluleke
The Auditor-General of South Africa
PO Box 446

Mr LO Mabuyane
Premier of the Eastern Cape
Private Bag X0047

Mr XE Nqatha
Eastern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
Private Bag X0035

Dear Ms Maluleke, Premier Mabuyane and MEC Nqatha

Elliotdale erven to be developed and sold exclusively to municipal employees and councillors: ANC councillors abusing their majority vote in the Mbhashe Local Municipality for personal gain

1. The United Democratic Movement’s (UDM’s) proportional representative (PR) councillors in the Mbhashe Local Municipality, recently approached me regarding an unsettling matter, which I would like to raise with your offices.

2. It pertains to the African National Congress (ANC) councillors, who hold the majority vote in council and are abusing that power for alleged self-enrichment and most disturbingly the approval of the disposal of municipal land (i.e.107 vacant erven in Elliotdale, Extension 5) to municipal employees and councillors “…vested into Mbhashe Local Municipality.” (See page 2 of Annexure A).

3. The warped logic they applied to arrive at this dubious decision is rather confounding, i.e. to dispose of municipal land (which is still to be reticulated for water and electricity) and made available for exclusive sale to municipal employees and councillors for residential purposes as “…it would be a conflict of interest to allow the municipal employees, councillors to compete with the members of the public during the tender processes…” as this would “… taint [sic] a negative image for the municipality allowing the municipal employees, councillors to bid with the members of the public.”

4. Consequently, the ANC councillors’ logic dictated that they fashion a nepotistic monopoly to give councillors and municipal employees access to municipal land in a non-competitive environment i.e. a ring-fenced development for the elite.

5. In addition, this land has absolutely no infrastructure and the municipality must still “…engage Eskom on the electric reticulation, whilst Amathole District Municipality (ADM) for the water reticulation and the Mbashe [sic] will be responsible for the laying of roads using the internal plan as well as storm water management”. One wonders if the entire Elliotdale, including its shoddily build Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) houses, has such well serviced neighbourhoods?

6. The “Financial Implications” are simply described as: “Municipality to generate more revenue” with not even an attempt at projecting what this elite project might cost. Seemingly the local taxpayer will pay for the installation of services to a neighbourhood (a sort of compound) where only councillors and municipal staff may live. This is outrageous.

7. It is shameful that the ANC councillors of the Mbhashe Local Municipality have used their majority to pass a resolution to serve their own nefarious goals; to make it possible for them and municipal officials to exclusively access these erven. They just bulldozed this decision through council, surely with the support of the technocrats who are to benefit from this scheme, despite the opposition’s objections and even threats to take legal action.

8. The United Democratic Movement has publicly gone on record deploring this decision and condemned the ANC councillor’s decision, but I would like to request your offices’ intervention in, and investigation of the matter as it seems that a great number of rules might have been broken.

9. Furthermore, it is alleged that last month these very same ANC councillors used their majority to resolve refunding themselves from the Covid-19 Solidarity Fund money. This abuse of majority to make poor decisions seems to be a trend and needs to be investigated. This money was not intended for their use, and their alleged actions appear to be nothing more than white-collar looting.

10. These aforementioned decisions are inappropriate, to say the least, but also self-serving and possibly corrupt acts. There also appears to be a total disregard of procurement processes, the Municipal Finance Management Act, as well as the code of conduct for councillors that prohibits self-service and self-enrichment.

11. My thanks in advance for your future actions to solve this dilemma and I hope to hear from you soon as to what that course of action will be.

Yours faithfully
Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP
President of the United Democratic Movement

Copied to: PR Councillors of the United Democratic Movement in the Mbhashe Local Municipality c/o Cllr N Ndlodaka