Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela met with the community of Bapong to report back on progress achieved by her office in delivering on undertakings made in relation to the investigation her office is conducting into the handling of the Bapong Traditional Community’s financial and governance affairs.
She also officially introduced Greenmont Forensic Services, a company she has appointed to conduct a forensic audit into the management of the Bapong resources, particularly financial resources, with special focus on an account called a D account which is managed by public servants of the North West Provincial Government.
There are allegations of systematic looting of the collective resources of the Babong community and those of those of other traditional communities including funds under this account. The Public Protector will continue investigating alleged maladministration while Greenmont will focus on impropriety and abuse of Bapong funds.
This move follows complaints from the Bapong Community who have alleged that the state has failed them, through regulatory failure. Currently, there is systemic governance failure in the community and the community has also been without a chief for a long time. The Terms of Reference of the forensic investigators were availed to the community and they were asked to study them and make inputs through community representatives.
The Public Protector further applauded the MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs Mr China Dodovu for delivering on his undertakings by appointing an Administrator in November 2012 and for facilitating the imminent Traditional Council election process in consultation with the Independent Electoral Commission.
The MEC explained to the community that the role of the Administrator will be to carry out the duties of the Traditional Council in the interim. He said he is expected to cooperate with the community and give them feedback on a regular basis until a legitimate traditional council is appointed in March.
She appealed to the community to cooperate with the forensic investigators, her office’s continuing investigation and the administrator. She further thanked them for joining hands with her to facilitate the Public Protector’s investigation and mediation process in the Bapo community.