Longstanding Democratic Alliance (DA) leader and Federal Council Chairperson Helen Zille paid a visit to the infamous Lesseyton stadium in Enoch Mgijima, Komani, and made startling claims about missing millions.
Enoch Mgijima stadium: R7 million is missing
Zille, who’s on a short stay in Nelson Mandela Bay ahead of the 2021 local government elections, went on an oversight visit to the sports venue that’s made headlines recently.
According to the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality, R15 million was spent on the development of the facility. However, images of the finished product were far from convincing, to say the very least.
Erected goalposts with no netting and bare steel bleachers are the only visible installations on the sports field. During her inspection of the construction work done by Thalami Civils, Zille confirmed a process has been undertaken to “insist on a full forensic audit into this project and other municipal projects which have failed dismally.”
The DA chairperson revealed the Enoch Mgijima municipality had earmarked R22 million for the stadium project. However, R7 million has never been accounted for, while the R15 million expenditure is the subject of an intensive probe.
“It’s some pick-up sticks and a scuffle. R22-million was budgeted for this… R7-million cannot be accounted for and R15-million was used for this. This is what R22-million was used for in this impoverished community of the Eastern Cape, where there are no roads with almost no facilities,” she said.
The R15 million rand Lesseyton Stadium in the Eastern Cape is a manifestation of ANC municipal rot.— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) October 8, 2021
The DA will insist on a full forensic audit into this project and other municipal projects which have failed dismally. – @helenzille pic.twitter.com/DCzsJbdgFU
What we know about Thalami Civils
The mountainous surrounds of the Komani village would have made the Lesseyton stadium a dream sporting venue, had the ANC-led municipality led the project with honesty and integrity.
Instead, early into a probe over the whereabouts of missing millions, red flags have surfaced over the procurement process that was undertaken to award Thalami Civils the contract to deliver the facility to the Enoch Mgijima community.
The stadium, in its current form and with an expenditure bill of R15 million, has no running water, no electricity, no turf, bare goalposts on the verge of collapse, and an athletics track crafted from white chalky paint that withers as the days pass.
Luthando Jojwana is listed as the owner of the construction company that was tasked with delivering a modern sports facility to the Komani region.
However, murmurs have been rampant about claims that Jojwana may have meddled with ANC coffers in an alleged tender scam.
It’s said that Thamani Civils was not favourite to procure the tender when bidding started before the project was launched in 2018.
Jojwana’s company claims to specialise in “Civil Engineering and General Building Construction and Project Management Services.”
“The company comprises of qualified previously disadvantaged personnel, who have worked under established construction firms and the public sector on major projects for many years and they provide high level of professionalism, quality services,” the company’s ‘About Us’ page reads.
However, a look at Thamani Civils’ recent development of a taxi rank in Tsomo, Eastern Cape, a R4 million project commissioned by Intsika Yethu Local Municipality and ‘completed’ in 2019, speaks volumes about competency and, overall, possible money laundering.
The same contractor who worked on the R15 million Enoch Mgijima Stadium also built a R4 million taxi rank at Tsomo 👇👇👇— 🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸Black-Queen)🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸 (@vusiwena) October 7, 2021
Not only that but he was also arrested in 2017 for stealing bricks in Butterworth to finish off some work in Centane 😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/Exbi5ctVnF
Eastern Cape MEC of co-operative governance and traditional affairs Xolile Nqatha called on a forensic investigation into the project, describing the Enoch Mgijima stadium as “a crime scene.”
“The fact that red tape that is used to cordon off a crime scene was used [to officially open the stadium]… there is a reason to forge ahead with an investigation,” he said.