Msunduzi to be probed

2009-12-15 00:00

A COMMISSION of inquiry has been instituted into the alleged financial mismanagement in the Msunduzi Municipality.

Speaking during a press conference at the Redlands Estate in the city yesterday, MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube, said the inquiry will include the overtime payments of the council’s security personnel and traffic officers. She said it will look at the alleged irregular and disproportionate overtime payments.

The municipality has been beset by alleged poor governance and misuse of public funds, after it emerged that the rifts between ANC councillors are hampering service delivery. It also emerged that the municipality’s finances have almost dried up due to alleged wasteful expenditure.

The council is also being investigated after DA MP Mark Steele, a former councillor, revealed that the municipality funded an ANC manifesto rally held at Qokololo Stadium earlier this year, to the tune of more than R1 million.

Dube said the state of gover­nance in the municipality is a cause for concern, citing industrial action undertaken by employees, marches by members of the public and media reports about the council.

Dube has urged Pietermaritzburg ratepayers to assist by alerting the department to issues concerning governance and misuse of public funds.

Dube also announced yesterday that the department has stripped three municipalities — Umhlabuyalingana, Okhahlamba and Indaka — of the powers to govern themselves.

Umhlabuyalingana Municipality, in northern Zululand, has been borrowing money to cover staff salaries and service delivery and is “bedevilled by serious allegations of corruption, nepotism and maladministration”.

An investigation into the municipality confirmed incidents of fraud, corruption and mismanagement of funds, said Dube, adding that this was confirmed by the auditor-general. A total of R14 million could not be accounted for.

The finances of Okhahlamba Municipality in the Berg, whose IFP mayor, Vikizitha Mlotshwa, was recently recalled by his party, are in disarray. Dube said there are serious deficiencies in management systems, accounting and financial control. “A total of R20 million allocated for housing was utilised irregularly to finance operations.”

In Indaka Municipality, situa­ted in northern KZN, serious infractions have been reported and the municipality is experiencing serious cash flow challenges, with an accumulated deficit of R8,4 million.

Dube said administrators have already been appointed to the municipalities, and plans such as Christmas parties, tra­vel and purchasing of cellphones have been frozen.

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