Mettler probe shows up the cracks

2010-06-07 00:00

A RECENT study of the affairs of the Msunduzi Municipality has revealed severe shortcomings that need urgent attention.

Conducted by Msunduzi administrator Johann Mettler and his team, the study has exposed some shocking weaknesses which are as follows:

• Crooked job evaluations and descriptions

• Self-enrichment and corruption by management and staff

• Political influence in administration and politicians contracting with the municipality

• Uncontrolled spending

• Poor staff attendance and full remuneration for unplaced staff sitting at home

• Weak disciplinary processes

• The complete collapse of internal controls

Unsurprisingly, Mettler said another of the city’s weaknesses has to do with the poor enforcement of by-laws related to dumping, littering and trading.

Residents who have called The Witness to complain about the municipality’s shoddy call centre and report-back system will be happy to hear that this has also been identified as a weakness that needs to be sorted out.

Bribes to win tenders, political interference, potential rates boycotts, companies that are politically connected and have contracts with the municipality, and corruption are just some of the threats Mettler said Msunduzi faces in the future.

However, he said, the internal restructuring will make it difficult for those responsible not to be held accountable.

“Lack of accountability is what caused this municipality to be where it is now,” said Mettler.

He said that when he and his team came in, they were dealing with invoices for goods and services that could not be located.

“Nobody knew where these things were because it happened outside the system. Now [with the new system] the accounting offi­cer can be held accountable for every single cent spent,” Mettler added.

He also criticised the municipality for its “non-existent marketing initiatives”.

He said the city should be milking its strengths to attract more industries to the city.

He said the city is fortunate to have close access to the N3 passage, good industry, residents with positive attitudes, provincial resources, potential private funding and an active press.

“We desperately need good press,” he said.

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