Pretoria – The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) in Limpopo province on Thursday said it “notes and welcomes” the arrest of Sekhukhune District Municipality Mayor Julia Lata Mathebe.
Mathebe, the former mayor of the Elias Motsoaledi Local Municipality, first appeared at the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria on Wednesday alongside Minah Maredi, the former Municipal Manager of the EMLM.
The duo was arrested by the Hawks for their alleged involvement in violating the Municipal Finance Management Act and National Treasury regulations, by enabling the illegal investment of millions of municipal resources with the now-defunct VBS Mutual Bank.
“We commend the good work being done by the Hawks in bringing to book the perpetrators and enablers who personally benefited from these investments that led to millions of municipal Rands being unrecoverable, while indirectly rendering municipalities to be unable to deliver services to residents,” said SAMWU.
“In welcoming these latest arrests, we call on the Hawks to spread further their wings and focus on all municipalities and individuals who were involved in this get-rich-quick scheme at the expense of service delivery.
“It still remains incomprehensible that municipalities that were failing to deliver basic services to residents, could take money earmarked for service delivery and invest it.
“It is for this reason that we are convinced that the motive for involved individuals to invest this money was to enrich themselves and owners of the bank who have swindled many of their clients out of their life savings.”
SAMWU said to this day, many of the involved individuals continue to live comfortable and lavish lifestyles while those who invested their last cents are now left destitute.
“These illegal investments have also cost the union leaders and robbed families of breadwinners,” SAMWU said.
“‘Comrades Timson Musetsho and Ronald Mani paid with their lives for standing firm against the VBS which they witnessed in municipalities throughout the province.
“Their stance against this rot resulted in them being silenced through the barrel of a gun.”
The union said in the interest of justice and for the families to find closure, the Hawks should leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of these culprits.
SAMWU, said it will closely follow the developments in the case and other related cases to ensure that justice is served.
“The spilled blood and spirits of our leaders, their families and municipal workers are crying out loud for justice.”