Municipal office fire destroys documents
Durban - Crucial documents needed for an ongoing forensic investigation were completely destroyed when the Umkhanyakude District Municipality offices burnt down on Thursday morning.
“I can confirm that our finance offices were completely destroyed by fire early today. We lost all the documents,” said Mayor Jeff Vilane. The municipal offices are in Mkuze in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Vilane said the incident happened at the time when a municipal manager and a chief financial officer were on suspension to allow a forensic investigation to take place.
“We don’t want to pre-empt what caused the fire. It could be an electric fault,” he said.
Vilane was however worried that crucial documents needed for investigation were destroyed.
“Though the information is also stored in computers you also need hard copy invoices that have been signed when you conduct the investigation,” he said.
The investigation was being conducted by a forensic team appointed by the provincial department of co-operative governance to probe allegations of maladminstration and fraud.
The fire started around 02:00. Vilane was fuming that it took too long for firefighters to respond.
“We are very unhappy that it took too long for them to respond. Rural metro offices are not far from our municipal building.”