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Lack of consultation on COVID-19 irks Tlokweng councillors

TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE
Seeletso
Tlokweng councillors have written to the coordinator of the COVID-19 relief programme Gabriel Seeletso complaining of not being consulted by the acting senior social worker and sub-council secretary on issues involving tenders and assessment regarding COVID-19 reliefs.

The councillors are demanding transparency on expenditure of money allocated to council to buy groceries.

They also want answers on how tenders were awarded.

Their complaints are contained in a letter dated May 10, 2020 to South East District Council secretary, Nelson Mogapi copied to Seeletso.

It reads: “Our concerns arose post a communiqué informing all councils that business that especially includes councillors has to come to an immediate halt until further notice due to COVID-19. This has led to a plethora of issues that are of grave concern to us, chief amongst them being lack of consultation”.

Tlokweng sub-council chairperson Phillip Mfolo said the assessments began at the beginning of April. He said all councillors were not brought up to speed on this exercise and the hiring of the first batch of 15 temporary social workers was also done without consultation.

“This irked us and caused deep concern amongst us and I was immediately requested to seek answers. My deputy and I then had a meeting with senior Assistant Council Secretary and your team seeking an explanation. During this meeting, you tendered an apology and assured us of your usual cooperation,” Mfolo said.

The letter states that this has not been the case, but rather that they had seen an escalation of issues. Mfolo said even up to date, councillors and Ward Development Committees (WDCs) have not been part of assessment nor were they briefed on

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criteria used to approve and disapprove others.

He said he was on Tuesday this week at a meeting with Seeletso shocked as he learnt that only 13,414 people were assessed and 6,145 approved.

“This is sad because Tlokweng has over 35,000 people. There should be transparency on the money that was given. For instance, there has never been a public opening for people with vehicles to assist with food distribution in Tlokweng,” he said.

Seeletso said he is aware of the Tlokweng issue and they held a meeting on Tuesday to try and resolve it. “On Monday, 4,000 people were already given food. It is true they had raised the issue of lack of communication and delayed food supply to the people. Yes, we have a copy of the letter. We cannot share details of that letter,” he said.

Council secretary Mogapi said there is a good relationship between senior social welfare officers, the sub council secretary and councillors.

“We had a problem of lack of food supply from our suppliers, hence the delay to supply food. By the end of this week we will be done and now we will be concentrating on those who were unfortunately not assessed when they deserve to be given food,” Mogapi said.

He claimed that he had not received a complaint letter from councillors and that there is transparency on the issue of tenders and expenditure on food.



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