Manase Report still hidden from view

2013-06-05 00:00

ANYONE who wants to read the full Manase Report into fraud and corruption in the eThekwini Municipality must make an application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).

This is despite the fact that the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Department yesterday announced that the controversial report was now available to the public.

To access it, interested parties must apply to department head Nonhlanhla Qobosheane, Cogta MEC Nomusa Dube said at a media briefing yesterday.

Before the briefing, Dube attended a council meeting in Durban where a “progress report” on the implementation of the findings of the report was tabled.

This caused some opposition parties to walk out.

The “progress report” showed that some of the senior people implicated in the probe have been let off the hook.

These include former municipal manager Michael Sutcliffe and former mayor Obed Mlaba.

The Manase Report had found that there was evidence of Mlaba’s involvement in the waste volume reduction plant tender, while Sutcliffe did not report fraud amounting to R1,1 million to the mayor and the MEC.

The “progress report” indicates that the money will be recovered from the pensions of two officials, who were dismissed and then appealed the sanction.

Asked why no action would be taken against Sutcliffe, Dube said: “At no stage have we said the former city manager will be charged and money recovered from him”.

Dube also said a senior counsel advised that since Mlaba was no longer a councillor, the eThekwini council could not discipline him.

At the briefing, Dube said some of the matters contained in the report included an anti-corruption task team, disciplinary hearings under way against some officials and recovering monies lost by council.

She named at least 10 councillors who violated the code of conduct for councillors by conducting business with council in the 2009/10 financial year and 13 others investigated for doing business with council during 2010/11.

A total of 123 officials who did business with council were given final warnings.

Sutcliffe said he was extremely disappointed that the entire Manase Report and its annexures were not released, but a sanitised report was made available to councillors and the public.

He pointed out several shortcomings in the report, including claims made against him that were never raised with him.

While demanding that the full report be immediately released, Sutcliffe said an independent review should be instituted into the report.

DA deputy caucus leader Martin Meyer said: “The 16-month wait for the report warranted nothing less than its full release and neither the DA, nor the public, would accept anything less.”

IFP’s caucus chairperson Mdu Nkosi criticised the ANC for calling a meeting only to release a progress report. “This is not the Manase Report which the taxpayers have been waiting for,” he said.

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