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Renewed questions about VDM's “golden handshake”


The SA Youth Council (SAYC), alongside opposition parties such as the EFF, have launched a scathing attack on the Vhembe District Municipality’s municipal manager, Ms Sylvia Ndou. They want her to be held accountable for the R1 million “golden handshake” paid to the former municipal manager, Mr Reuben Rambado, almost two years ago.

Rambado was the person in charge when the VDM illegally invested R300 million in the ill-fated VBS Mutual Bank.

In a press release issued on 31 December, the SAYC calls for an urgent special council meeting to consider firing Ndou. The group demand that Rambado pay back the money he had received. “We will write to Coghsta MEC, Basikopo Makamu, to also consider taking disciplinary action against the current MM, Sylvia Ndou, who authorized the R1 million golden handshake to the former MM,” said Ernesto Gogome, convener of the SAYC.

The councillor for the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in the VDM, Patrick Mashau, said that the decision to pay Rambado should be reversed, as it was disturbing and very wrong, and they want drastic measures to be taken by those involved.

“This handshake paid to the former MM should be paid pack as it is an example of fruitless expenditure by the district municipality. The money should have been directed to service delivery, as many parts of the district are without water. We want to look at the council resolution and act from there. We are calling for drastic measures against those who are involved,” Cllr Mashau said.

Coghsta spokesperson Mr Mitupo Selomo said that he could not elaborate more on the matter as all they did was give advice and they were not liable for the running of the municipalities.

The ANC Secretary in Limpopo, Soviet Lekganyane, said they would need a report from the representatives of the party in the district on how such payment had been taken, before they could take the matter further.

The spokesperson for the VDM, Matodzi Ralushai, declined to comment on the matter. According to Ralushai, no new updates on the matter were available.

The SAYC and opposition party’s call for action, however, comes more than two years after Rambado’s suspension and it only focuses on the officials. None of the elected leaders, such as the executive mayor at the time, Florence Radzilani, are mentioned.

In October 2018, Limpopo Mirror reported on the suspension of two senior VDM officials, Mugivhela Rambado and Nyiko Mchavi. Rambado and Mchavi were accused of being responsible for the R300 million investment at VBS, which was against National Treasury’s advice. At the time, the EFF tabled a vote of no confidence against the executive mayor, Cllr Florence Radzilani. The motion, which was supported by the DA, failed as the 27 ANC councillors voted against it.

In March 2019, the VDM and Rambado parted ways. The decision not to renew Rambado’s contract and that he would receive a further salary for eight months was reported. A source from within the VDM told Limpopo Mirror that both the lawyers representing the municipality and the former municipal manager had met and decided to settle the matter. “They agreed that the former municipal manager should be getting his salary for a further eight months,” said the source.




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Date:08 January 2021 - By: Silas Nduvheni

Silas Nduvheni



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