Bitou Mayor Lobese is the recipient of the Provincial forensic report into Bitou municipality that he is expected to refer to Councillors for comment and response. He refuses to circulate it beyond his closed circle of advisers, and is planning a push-back through the Municipality’s lawyers. The content of the report must be very disturbing if he is willing to go to such extreme lengths to withhold it.
The solution to the problem is simple. It is in the MEC of Local Government’s hands. We have supplied him with the email addresses of our thirteen Councillors and suggested he distribute the report to each Councillor personally (see below). So far he has failed to take this obvious step. Why? We have yet to be told.
The forensic report was completed and submitted early in 2019. It obviously cannot deal with corruption or maladministration occurring since then, and we have no means of knowing whether misconduct occurring up to then was comprehensively covered. We intend making representations on both facets of the case.
The Ratepayers Association has, over the past six months, repeatedly asked for a copy of the report. We have twice invoked the disclosure of information statute (PAIA) in support of our claim. Initially we were fobbed off with the excuse that the report was under investigation by the Hawks. Now we are told that we must wait until 20 Jan 2020, which is the date by when the Councillors are expected to make their submissions. Will we be given the report then? Who knows – the MEC has yet to promise to give it to us.
Plainly, we cannot respond to a report we haven’t seen. But respond we shall on whatever we have been able to discover. To this end, we are compiling a data base of instances of (1) corruption (2) nepotism (3) wasteful maladministration and (4) neglect of duty and incompetence. It is already fairly lengthy, but some of it is still very general and much is incomplete. We need more information, facts and figures and we want you, our members, to provide us with what you know.
Information is best supplied by emails written by people who are willing to vouch for it; but if you prefer to remain anonymous, a position we fully understand, you can contact our Helpline at 079 259 9320 or mail documentary material to PO Box 162, Plett. Anonymous communications will be treated in absolute confidence.
The Ratepayers’ Association is non-political: we support no party nor individual in office within Bitou, and so can deal with complaints and representations independently and objectively. We are here to help you, Plett residents and ratepayers, whatever your political persuasion.
Please help us to help you. If you know of something corrupt or illegal within Bitou, please tell us about it.
You will be kept posted of developments, but if you want more details, visit www.plettratepayers.co.za.