‘Help us have a party’

2014-12-06 00:00

A DEPARTMENT of Transport official has ­admitted to accepting a donation from a taxi ­association to help fund a year-end function, after they sent out letters of appeal for funds.

But in a twist, the taxi group named denied ever handing over a donation.

The staff based at Umbilo, Pinetown and Durban central issued a circular to taxi associations and car dealerships, appealing for cash to bankroll their Sibaya Casino event. The party is to be held at the casino’s Africa to Asia Restaurant at R195 a head.

The Durban Liner Taxi Association has allegedly responded with a donation, but the amount is unknown. Chairperson Simphiwe Chilliza however denied any involvement, and refused to comment further on the matter.

The Witness is in possession of the letter titled “Request for a donation for a Christmas party”.

Nompumelelo Sibisi from the Motor Licensing Bureau in Umbilo, who issued the letter, said it was done in a personal capacity, despite having used the Transport Department’s letterhead. “We are not given a Christmas budget from the department so we asked dealers and people we have relationships with,” she said, adding they had only received one donation “from the Durban Liner Taxi association who was the only one to respond with help”.

The letter reads: “Please be advised that on the 15th of December 2014 Umbilo, Pinetown and ­Durban Motor Licensing Bureaus are having their Christmas party which will be held at Sibaya Casino. This is the time of the year whereby the staff get an opportunity to get together to socialise and get to know each other better outside the working environment. A donation would be very much appreciated as the department is not paying for the party. The staff always pay for their Christmas parties every year. The donation will be used to cut down costs of the Africa to Asia restaurant ...”

Paul Hoffman from the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa said it was clearly ­inappropriate. “It is a conflict of interest. What the staff are doing was creating a relationship with these parties which was inappropriate,” he said.

KwaZulu-Natal Transport Department spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said the department opposed any request for donations.

“It is unacceptable for employees to request or accept donations from anyone unless it does receive approval and is declared. We don’t want anything to compromise morals and ethical values,” he said.

He said the matter would be investigated and followed closely. “The danger is these people who gave these donations coming back to the ­department and asking for favours …” Ncalane said, adding any money donated would be returned.

• rumana.akoob@witness.co.za

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