Thabazimbi Local Municipality in Limpopo

Barely a day after being sworn in as the new mayor of Thabazimbi Local Municipality in Limpopo, Midah Moselane found her office emptied of all furniture and equipment.

An angry Moselane described the moment she arrived at the municipal offices, just a day after she was sworn in, as the most disappointing in her life as she found the sheriff of the court’s trucks loading municipal property.

Moselane is a former ANC councillor who founded the Thabazimbi Residents’ Association, which won two seats in last month’s election and went into an opposition coalition with the DA, unseating her former party. She accused her former comrades of “sabotage”, saying they left her to inherit “a broke municipality that is drowning in debt”.

The mayor’s office was left bare as the sheriff invaded the offices last week, loading furniture, computers and vehicles.

They were attached because an estimated R400 million was owed to service providers.

Thabazimbi was placed under administration in February. The Auditor-General issued disclaimers on the municipality’s audit reports for the past three financial years, having identified serious cash flow issues and irregular expenditure as endemic problems.

Appointed Thabazimbi administrator in March, Letsepe Thubakgale told Parliament’s portfolio committee on May 3 that the municipality’s bank balance in March totalled R3.4 million, and that it owed Eskom R146 million and Magalies Water at least R31 million.

In his report, Thubakgale said “financial challenges started in 2010, when the municipality utilised conditional grants for operational activities”. This led to Treasury withholding some funding.

He added that the municipality was sitting on a default judgment totalling R56 million, and probably owed in excess of R400 million. He said none of the creditors was being paid at the time.