Rotten, top to bottom

2012-02-08 00:00

A FORENSIC investigation into the eThekwini Metro has fingered a range of people, from trainee metro constables to councillors, for alleged fraud and corruption, as well as other irregularities.

The Manase Report found that:

• Thirty trainee constables recently employed by the Metro Police bought false driver’s licences to satisfy recruitment criteria and were even referred to illegal driving schools. The Hawks are investigating these allegations.

• Outstanding traffic fines ranging from R5 000 to about R117 000 led to a discovery that at least 14 Metro Police officers were taxi owners.

• Ten councillors and 161 municipal officials have interests in companies doing business with the municipality. Disciplinary steps are recommended against them, and that payments should be recovered from them.

• Circumvention of tender regulations involved R2,1 billion over the past three years alone. In 2010 the amount increased by 42% and last year by a further 158%.

• In some cases housing contracts were awarded even before tender documents had been completed. There was no evidence of any disciplinary steps against any officials.

• Circumvention of tender regulations with regard to the erection of 550 low-cost houses in the Burbreeze project trebled the cost, from R18 million to R57 million, as a result of a defective feasibility study and missed deadlines. The contractor was not a registered builder and “shocking and unacceptable, dangerous and sub-standard” houses were erected.

• At Hammond’s Farm a R68 million housing project eventually cost R351 million, for similar reasons.

• Tender regulations were also circumvented for the designing of a computer system to manage the city’s revenue.

The project, whose cost was initially estimated at between R90 and R150 million, eventually cost R474,7 million on completion last year. Legal provisions were not complied with for authorisation of the extra cost.

A new contract of R44,8 million per quarter to maintain the system is also irregular.

A further investigation, during which witnesses can be subpoenaed, has been recommended.

• Overtime was paid both in advance and retroactively in the electricity department, where about 50% of the posts are vacant. Only one in 632 employees qualifying for overtime pay was investigated.

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