Managers can’t duck out

2010-08-04 00:00

A NUMBER of suspended officials in the Msunduzi Municipality want to resign to avoid facing a disciplinary tribunal over their alleged involvement in fraud, corruption and serious maladministration.

This was disclosed by the KZN MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube, at a press conference in Durban yesterday. It was held to brief the media about progress regarding four municipalities that were put under administration by her department six months ago.

Dube revealed that disciplinary tribunal sessions at which the Msunduzi officials will appear are expected to start today.

“The charges against employees have been served and the disciplinary tribunal is due to sit on August 4. Investigations into allegations of misconduct against other officials on suspension are nearing completion and disciplinary tribunals will be constituted.

“We are considering laying criminal and civil charges against all the suspended employees following investigations into the various allegations of misconduct,’’ Dube said.

She said a number of suspended officials have asked to be released from their duties in an apparent attempt to avoid disciplinary action.

“However, we have made it clear that that will not help them to avoid criminal or civil charges.”

Leading Msunduzi officials who the department confirmed will be charged are the deputy municipal manager, corporate services, Kevin Perumal, and deputy chief financial officer Roy Bridgmohan, as well as others officials who are on suspension.

When the province appointed administrator Johann Mettler to take took over the administration of Msunduzi, Dube said, the municipality had not adopted the budget, there was no integrated development plan and the municipality was riddled with irregularities in the supply chain and excessive overtime payments. These issues have given rise to a severe financial crisis at the municipality.

THE Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department has also put the uMhlabuyalingana, Indaka and Okhahlamba municipalities under administration.

MEC Nomusa Dube said that when the administrative measures were introduced in December 2009, the municipalities were financially bleeding and they had huge budget deficits.

“In Okhahlamba, a budget deficit in excess of R10 million was being anticipated and the municipality could not pay creditors. The major creditors were owed about R11million for housing delivery and the implementation of the Municipal Property Rates Act.

“In uMhlabuyalingana the deficit was R8,9 million and [there was] a shortfall of R14 million in the financing of fund reserves, creditors and provisions.

“In Indaka, the municipality had accumulated a deficit of R8,4 million and further reserves amounting to R6,5 million were not supported by cash,’’ Dube said.

Budget adjustments were made for all the municipalities and austerity measures introduced so that no expenditure could be incurred or payment for previous expenditure made unless ratified by the administrator.

All payments were scrutinised. Abuse of petrol vouchers and overtime was stopped completely, catering for meetings was cut and all contracted positions were reviewed.

Dube said the intervention has since ensured that all expenditure is now dealt with in accordance with the budgets.

A clerk resigned from one municipality after he stole about R5 000 cash and a manager was dismissed for abuse of council letterheads, while a supervisor cashier and a director are facing disciplinary hearings for various cases.

In uMhlabuyalingana, civil summonses were served on the former municipal manager and CFO to recover R15 338 203.

“We are also investigating allegations that the municipality has invested no less than R50 million in the municipal office buildings, including the council chamber and the traffic testing station under construction.

“Yet the municipality has no legal title to land under these structures,” she said.

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