Avalanche of court action against lid on Manase Report

2013-06-23 06:00

The eThekwini Municipality is facing an avalanche of court actions seeking to force it to release the Manase Report into corruption and mismanagement in the city.

On Thursday, the city has to respond to an application in the Durban High Court by 300 bus drivers who are suing the city over the failed Remant Alton bus deal in 2008.

The drivers believe the report will help cast light on illegal dealings, which they say have relevance to the buy-back of buses and equipment from Remant Alton, a process which cost the city R400 million and the drivers their jobs.

The action follows another Durban High Court application by the IFP for the report’s release, which on Thursday was adjourned to a date still to be set after the city indicated its intention to oppose.

Civil right organisation AfriForum has also gone to the Pietermaritzburg High Court for access, an action which the city is also defending. The matter will be heard on October 23.

AfriForum had initially filed papers last October, but had then agreed to give the municipality sufficient time to complete their investigations.

But the group went back to court in February after no progress was made in making public the report, which deals with corruption during the 2010/11 and 2011/2012 financial years and the rampant use of emergency provisions of the Municipal Finance Management Act to award contracts without tender.

The DA has also filed an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act for release of the report. The city has to respond to this on Thursday as well.

The city also faces a R10 million lawsuit from former City Manager Mike Sutcliffe, who claims his successor, S’bu Sithole, selectively released parts of the report to defame him and his senior managers.

Cooperative Governance MEC Nomusa Dube, who commissioned Manase, recently issued a progress report on implementing Manase’s recommendation, but refused to release the report until the city had wrapped up its work.

According to her report, no senior officials were to be charged over the Manase findings.

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