The DA’s ongoing investigation into Bohlabela Regional Fire Emergency Services'(BRFES) controversial relationship with Thaba Chweu Local Municipality has certainly ruffled feathers.
Two months ago, we revealed that BRFES has no service level agreement with the municipality, yet they illegally collect infringement fines.
One of our councilors, Maruis Opperman, has been on the receiving end of threatening phone calls from a certain employee who allegedly forms part of this syndicate in the municipality. Opperman has been on the forefront of exposing these corrupt activities in the municipality’s traffic department.
The court interdict prohibits the employee from harassing the Councilor further. A warrant of arrest has been authorised for this employee should they fail to comply with the interdict.
The DA has also established that BFRES does not have any service level agreement with Ehlanzeni District Municipality and the Department of Public Works, Roads, and Transport as they claimed.
We have attained a letter directed to BRFES from the Municipal Manager, Peter Mankga who advised the company to cease their operations in Thaba Chweu. In the letter, the manager lists the anomalies detected on the emergency service rendered by BRFES within the jurisdiction of the municipality:
- BRFES unwarranted activities might lead to litigation against the municipality and attach financial implications.
- Using the municipality’s letterhead on their invoices. Banking details reflected on these invoices are that of BRFES and not the municipality.
- Collecting money under the pretense of collecting on behalf of the municipality. This is illegal and prohibited for anyone to collect funds on behalf of the municipality.
- Enforcing by-laws on the fines they issue to the public for contravention purposes. Only authorised personnel of the municipality or an appointed service provider may carry out this task.
- Operating within the municipality’s jurisdiction without any service legal agreement.
The letter also indicates that on a number of occasions the municipality advised BRFES to bid for the emergency services task tender whenever it was advertised. However, the company showed no interest.
It is devastating to learn that for over a year this company operated illegally with the help of corrupt individuals in the municipality. It remains a mystery as to how the ANC administration lost control over its traffic department. This unjustifiable negligence has cost the municipality millions in revenue.
The DA has asked the National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit to urgently look into this matter. We further call on the municipal manager to institute an internal investigation that will expose all public servants who gave BRFES the authority to operate in Thaba Chweu.