MEC vows to get firm on council corruption

2008-04-18 00:00

“WE are taking stern action against corruption.”

This was the response from Local Government, Traditional Affairs and Housing MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu at the 2008/09 budget speech to members of the Legislature over what he is doing about corruption at municipalities.

Chairman of the UDM, Bongani Msomi, said: “[T]hree former councillors of the uMgungundlovu District Municipality were charged with corruption … it would be nice if the department would do an investigation into this.”

The DA said Mabuyakhulu is losing the battle against corrupt councils and public servants.

George Mari, KZN spokesman on Local Government and Housing, said that during the previous year, the portfolio committee reviewed six municipalities’ forensic reports, but this year, 34 are currently under review.

“The slow pace of action by the MEC and his department … is unacceptable. It appears that the department lacks the capacity to act decisively … ,” she said.

Mabuyakhulu assured the house that the outcomes of the forensic investigations will be brought before Parliament.

He said that some of the challenges impacting on the functioning of municipalities include a lack of qualified staff and a high exodus of staff in the finance, technical and planning divisions.

He said the department is to introduce junior financial practitioners within municipalities’ learnership programmes.

Joanne Downs of the ACDP expressed concern at the lack of infrastructure maintenance.

Mabuyakhulu admitted that there is a backlog in service delivery, but highlighted the milestones achieved in the past three years.

In the last year, 149 948 households had access to clean potable water, 96 567 to sanitation and 31 613 to electricity.

All municipalities adopted their budgets within stipulated time frames and 62% compiled their annual financial statements, compared to 53% in the previous year.

He praised municipalities for their ability to attract investments, despite infrastructure challenges.

Mabuyakhulu said that it is crucial for councillors and public servants to realise that it is a privilege to serve the people of KZN.

“The days of leaders whose main preoccupation is throwing around their weight, while our people are yearning for basic services, are over,” he said.

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