Pay up, fess up or face the music

2010-04-29 00:00

MSUNDUZI councillors have been given a stern warning: pay your municipal debts and declare your private interests as soon as you can or face the consequences.

This was the tough adminition made by council speaker Babu Baijoo during yesterday’s sitting of the full council, the first since the appointment of a provincial administration task team to run the dmbattled municipality and of Mike Tarr as the new mayor.

The following emerged at the session:

• A notice was given to 41 Msunduzi councillors, whose identities were revealed to the municipality by the auditor-general, for failing to declare their private interests. This resulted in an audit query in the auditor-general’s report.

• The office of the speaker, in consultation with the office of the municipal manager, is conducting checks to ascertain which councillors have declared their interests. Those who have failed to declare their interests have been advised to do so immediately because the names of transgressors will be announced at the next full council meeting.

• The municipality’s finance department has given the speaker’s office a list of 17 councillors who owe the municipality money.

Msunduzi administrator Johann Mettler said he requested that the speaker’s office take up the matter with councillors “and not hesitate to act very decisively against councillors who owe the municipality money”.

Mettler said he could not give an total of the amount owed by councillors, but he is sure that one councillor owes about R100 000 in outstanding rates.

Asked how councillors were allowed to run up such vast debts and get away with failing to declare their personal interests, Mettler said it could all be blamed on the non-existent management.

Had proper management controls been in place, he added, defaulting councillors would have been reported to the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department, and they would have been charged in terms of the councillors’ code of conduct.

In terms of this code, Mettler said, no councillor may be in arrears to any municipality for service or rates charges for a period beyond three months without facing the necessary disciplinary consequences.

Baijoo is scheduled to conduct one-on-one meetings with councillors who have transgressed the council’s code of conduct, from today.

Council overtime significantly reduced: page 3

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