Land bought for 14 times its value

The piece of land that cost above R116 million. Picture supplied

BURGERSFORT – Officials from the Fetakgomo Greater Tubatse Municipality (FGTM) and the Limpopo Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) allegedly spent R116,5 million to purchase a piece of unoccupied land outside town. According to the Auditor-General (AG) report the land is 107,24 hectares in size. It is valued at R8,14 million. The land is situated behind the municipality’s dumping site. According to sources, FGTM and Coghsta apparently sold the land to private developers for R4 million. “The two organisations then sent an official to buy it from the developer for R8 million.”FGTM and Coghsta acquired funds from the Limpopo government and purchased the land from the official for R116,5 million,” said a source within FGTM. The DA alleged that both the parties are implicated in the land scandal.According to Jacques Smalle, DA provincial leader, Treasury prompted the AG to refer the matter to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), due to the department’s ineptitude to handle this matter effectively. Smalle stated that, according to the annual report for the 2016/17 financial year for Coghsta, the AG regarded the purchase as a fruitless and wasteful expenditure. This contributed to the department’s audit opinion which regressed to a qualified opinion with findings.

Smalle stressed that the DA noted that MEC Mmakoma Makhurupetje referred the case to the Hawks for investigation, and said it believed that the media hype forced her to do so as the purchase was made in October 2015.

“If Makhurupetje was serious about fighting corruption in her department, investigations would have been conducted long before it was picked up by the AG,” stated Smalle. On September 26, Makhurupetje, speaking through her (Coghsta) spokesman, Motupa Selomo, said she regarded the DA’s allegations as nothing more than a publicity stunt.

On September 29 she had a change of heart and decided that disciplinary action must be taken against those implicated.

“We have decided as the department that we are taking the matter to the Hawks. I have instructed the head of department that disciplinary action must be taken with immediate effect against senior government officials who are involved,” said Makhurupetje.

Hawks spokesman, Hangwani Mulaudzi confirmed it is investigating the matter.

Steelburger/Lydenburg News could not get a comment from FGTM at the time of going to press.

Gilbert Motseo

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