Westonaria wastes R1.5 million on legal fees

Westonaria wastes R1.5 million on legal feesby Mzee (TAAC)

Westonaria municipality wasted R1.5 million on legal fees (October 2007 to August 2012) trying to fire a VIP protection officer who spoke out against tender irregularities.

Tumisani Mnguni, a former cadre of the MK armed group, was employed by Westonaria municipality in March 2007 as a VIP protector. In October, he was appointed as head of the VIP protection public safety unit by Mr Seitischo, the then-Westonaria municipal manager.

But Mnguni was fired after challenging the municipality’s decision to award tenders worth millions of Rands to outside companies without following proper procedures. In July 2009, Mnguni had reported the matter to the Premier of Gauteng, the MEC for Local Government and Housing, and the Office of the Public Protector.

The R1.5 million was spent on hiring outside lawyers to pursue its case against Mnguni.

These payments were made between December 2010 and April 2011 to a Pretoria-based law firm, called De Swart-Vogel-Myambo Attorneys. R308 856 was paid in December 2010 for 24 months, covering salary and traveling costs for this law firm.

The expensive legal battle took place while the municipality struggled to provide township residents with basic services such as refuse removal, water, sanitation and electricity due to lack of funding.