Public service watchdog PSAM says the Hawks should be securing preservation orders against the assets of suspected beneficiaries of alleged fraudulent payments by Makana Municipality. This was in response to confirmation by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation that they are investigating an alleged ‘ghost’ employee at Makana Municipality. Some sources speculate that Makana may have as many as 80 employees on its payroll who cannot be accounted for.
Hawks Eastern Cape spokesperson Captain Anelisa Feni on Friday 19 October told Grocott’s Mail that a “new case” of an alleged ghost employee at Makana Municipality was being investigated.
Several inside sources last week said they believed there could be as many as 80 ‘employees’, making up 10% of Makana’s salary bill, who could not be accounted for; however neither the Hawks nor Municipal Manager Moppo Mene would confirm this.
Responding to questions from Grocott’s Mail, Feni said, “We have a new case of an alleged ghost employee at the municipality. Matter is being investigated. I am unable to give further comment at this stage with regards to this case.”
And Mene said, “There is a case that we have opened… of the ‘ghost’ employee… the matter is being investigated…”
As to whether this was only the tip of the iceberg, Mene said, “We can’t say the extent of the situation for now.”
Sources said the investigation had been set in motion after a ghost employee came forward who had been on the municipality’s payroll since 2013.
Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM) Director Jay Kruuse said, “Hopefully the Hawks are coordinating with the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) to secure preservation orders against the ghost worker(s) if they have any assets to secure.”
Staff costs make up close to 50% of Makana’s total operating budget of R432.2 million
On October 11 Grocott’s Mail reported that Eskom intends to impose power cuts on Makana Municipality at the start of the Festive Season, continuing indefinitely because of Makana’s outstanding debt of R67 539 876.39.
Makana’s Finance directorate has struggled since at least 2012 to hire and retain permanent chief executives. Cases of ghost workers have also arisen before.