The Hawks are investigating allegations of fraud against the mayor of the cash-strapped Modimolle-Mookgophong local municipality in Limpopo.

Mayor Marlene van Staden allegedly made travel expenses claims for business trips while she used a municipal vehicle in 2019. Van Staden, however, denies the allegations.

The Hawks say they received the docket from the police containing allegations against Mayor van Staden in March. She allegedly claimed travel expenses for use of a personal vehicle while she was driving a municipal car. She also allegedly misused the fuel card of the mayoral vehicle that she previously used.

Hawks spokesperson in Limpopo, Matimba Maluleke says it is not clear how much money has been claimed fraudulently.

“We are indeed investigating the case of alleged fraud against the senior official of the Modimolle local municipality. The suspect allegedly used the municipal-owned vehicle for an official trip, but later claim travel allowances as if it was the private-owned vehicle that was used. The value of the loss suffered by the municipality will be determined by our own investigation; we have just received the docket from the station for further investigation.”

Van Staden, who is also DA leader at the municipality, has denied the accusation and says she is also not aware of any investigation against her.

“I don’t do travel claims because I have got a municipal vehicle. Remember I’m driving that same Isuzu and I have got the petrol card for the municipality so I don’t put in any travel claims. I find it very bizarre actually because I have been driving the municipal vehicle from the day that I actually started working as the mayor.”

In the video below, the DA wins control of the Modimolle-Mookgopong municipality. 

ANC Chief Whip in the council Rufus Magoro says they were also not aware of the allegation against van Staden, and they have confidence that the Hawks will investigate the case properly.

“We are very much disappointed because we believe that the DA is the party that believes in fighting against corruption and we are very much surprised when finding out that DA actually is doing corruption in the municipality. We were not aware of the investigation against her. We will depend on the hawks to ensure that no stones left unturned.”

The cash-strapped Modimolle-Mookgophong municipality was placed under administration in 2018. The municipality is governed by an EFF-DA coalition, which took over from the ANC after the 2016 local government elections.

In the video below, Modimolle-Mookgopong municipality improves service delivery.