The Senior Sub Tribal Authority in Palapye Village is engaged in a war of words with politicians in the village.
There seems to be no love lost between Kgosi Raditanka Ntebele and politicians in Palapye, as the Chief has accused the politicians of meddling in the affairs of the Wards and Village Development committees and, in fact, politicizing the appointment of members to such committees.
Council authorities have also not been spared the Chief’s vitriol, as he accuses them of conniving with the VDC members to siphon thousands of Pulas that were meant for community development.
After being snubbed by cabinet Ministers and council authorities, Chief Ntebele has now taken his crusade to another level.
Sunday Standard in possession of a letter that Chief Ntebele has written to the Minister of Local Government, Lebonaamang Mokalake.
In the letter, Chief Ntebele implores Mokalake to launch a probe into the conduct of the VDC, WDC and Social and Community Development officers.
In 2009, Chief Ntebele wrote a letter to the Council Secretary in Serowe, in which he called for a committee of enquiry to investigate misuse of funds by the Palapye VDC. In the letter the Chief explained that the VDC raises funds through renting out houses that were built through the namola leuba projects, and renting out the community hall.
He pointed an accusing finger at the council for failing to conduct audits of the VDC’s books of accounts, which he said leads to misuse of funds.
“Over P36 000 was misappropriated at Lotsane Ward. The S&CD later ordered that the guilty person should repay the money in monthly installments of P300. This is ridiculous because the guilty party would take 9 months to repay public funds that he used for personal gain without permission,” said Chief Ntebele.
He said he could not comprehend how the community center, a major source of revenue for the VDC, lay idle for months after their water bill sky rocketed to P 12 000. Efforts by Chief Ntebele to get an explanation from the VDC treasurer as to why the community hall’s water bill was not paid drew a blank.
In the latest developments, Ntebele alleges that the administration of the VDC and the seven WDC’s in Palapye is chaotic as they are allowed to misappropriate public funds with the tact assistance of the council and the S&CD.
“Cases of loss, theft and fraud are never reported to the police. The criterion for choosing election contestants is based on nepotism and political affiliation, which even extends to the employment of government’s poverty alleviation programs,” said Chief Ntebele.
He further alleged that cash donations that are made to the community end up in the wrong hands. In one instance, Chief Sello narrated how blanket donations that were made by the church ended up being stolen by VDC members.
Chief Ntebele said he received the blankets and later handed them over to S&CD officers, with a list of needy and disabled people that the tribal administration had identified as beneficiaries of the donation. However, said Chief Ntebele, none of the identified individuals received the donations, and no explanation is forthcoming from the S&CD officers.
He accused the Assistant Council Secretary and the S&CD of repeatedly refusing to investigate allegations that VDC members are abusing public funds. Ntebele further told Mokalake that the District Commissioner and the Council officials snubbed a meeting that was convened to address the issue.
“It was confirmed at the meeting that over P36 000 was misappropriated at Lotsane Ward while over P12000 was misappropriated at Boikago Ward. The financial situation in other wards was not clear as there were no audited books of accounts. All of these incidents were never reported to the police,” said Chief Ntebele.
His woes continued when the Assistant Minister of Local Government Botlogile Tshireletso brushed her aside when he tried to brief her about the issue during a subsequent kgotla meeting.
“She told me that she did not come for any other business but to address VDC’s. This then leaves me with no other option but to appeal to you, Hon. Mokalake, to address this situation and recover the misappropriated funds,” he said.
It is not the first time that Chief Ntebele has locked horns with politicians. Palapye MP, Moiseraele Goya, once launched a blistering attack against him at a BDP rally, accusing him of dabbling in politics and disrespecting the BDP.
He accused Chief Ntebele of not being comradely as he did not join them when they chanted their “Tsholetsa Domkrag” slogan. He also said the chief should not have raised complaints that developments in Palapye are coming at a slow pace, as that amounted to politicking.