Embattled Ditsobotla Local Municipality allegedly has ghost workers

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The embattled Ditsobotla Local Municipality in Lichtenburg, in the North West province has allegedly been paying bogus employees, using the identities of former municipal workers. The municipality is accused of using records of former employees such as casual and EPWP workers, placing them in different positions, while their salaries are allegedly diverted to certain individuals in the municipality. This has affected the victims, as they can’t access social grants or get employment.

Ditsobotla Local Municipality by-elections were held just five months ago. The municipality was placed under mandatory intervention this week due to financial challenges. It is said to have a bloated staff, and now there are allegations of bogus employees have surfaced.

The suspected bogus staff members are allegedly paid using records of former employees. One of them is 58-year-old Tlale Pholo. He worked as a casual municipal worker ten years ago. He thought his contract was discontinued. To his shock, he’s apparently still employed by the municipality.

“When I try to seek employment, I found out that I have a persal number without my knowledge and now I cannot be employed because of it. Now everything is stand still as we speak because I cannot work anywhere. I once had a stroke because of this and my doctor told me not take things into my heart and I told him that am not working and someone is using my name to get a salary,” says Pholo.

Opposition parties represented in the municipal council say those responsible, should be held accountable.

“Well firstly must mobilize all stakeholders, secondly state agencies, law enforcement agencies to ensure that those who are behind shenanigans are held accountable. We want to see for the first time now in Ditsobotla people being prosecuted because our predicament is that these people, they do this thing continuously because no one dares to prosecute them ultimately,” says Fanon Moema, EFF Spokesperson in NW.

“If there is such a case of ghost employees and there are people that are obviously implicated in this thing obviously the full might of the law needs to take place. There is nothing as long as it is in the confinements of the law, we support anything that is legal,” says Yusuf Laher, DA caucus leader.

The mayor says they haven’t quantified the monies spent on this bogus payroll.

“Let me say yes, we are aware that there are ghost workers but up to so far, we are still putting systems in place. We are going to make a head count, but we did not start yet, but we are going there,” says Itumeleng Lethoko, Ditsobotla Local Municipality Mayor.

The municipality says it will conclude its headcount and expenditure verification within two months’ time.