Former eThekwini mayor fingered in probe

2012-02-07 21:01

Durban - Former eThekwini Municipality mayor Obed Mlaba has been fingered in a forensic report on corruption in the municipality, it was announced on Tuesday.

The probe, commissioned by the provincial co-operative governance department, had uncovered maladministration and fraud, MEC Nomusa Dube told reporters in Durban.

The report found that the former mayor unlawfully influenced the supply of a waste volume reduction plant for a landfill site, she said, but did not elaborate.

It recommended that the process be started afresh as its integrity had been "grossly compromised".

It also contained accusations against a number of senior officials, including former municipal manager Mike Sutcliffe.

Dube said the former municipal manager was found to have contravened the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act by not reporting fraudulent and corrupt activities.

The investigation found that 10 councillors had business interests with entities which conducted business with the eThekwini Municipality.

The department has asked the municipality to urgently institute disciplinary action against all the officials and councillors implicated in the report.

The probe was instituted after Auditor General Terence Nombembe said in his 2009/10 that R532m had been irregularly spent by the municipality.

Dube said irregular expenditure in the past three years amounted to R2.188bn.

The investigation also found that the municipality had failed to comply with supply chain management processes for infrastructure and housing projects.

It identified excessive and inappropriate use of a section of the supply chain management policy which allowed municipalities to deviate from the normal tender process.

This was intended for use only emergencies, but the eThekwini Municipality had used it extensively for, among other things, housing developments.

It was found that some contractors given tenders in terms of this section received letters of appointment even before submitting tender documents.

Some contractors awarded tenders were not even registered with the National Home Builders Registration Council. Their work was so poor, the houses had to be demolished.

A lack of supervision during housing construction had also led to a waste of taxpayers' money.

Dube said there was substance to allegations that 30 trainee metro police constables had been referred to illegal driving schools by Metro Police College instructors.

The matter was being investigated by the Hawks, she said.

Fourteen metro police officers were found to be running taxis.

"These police officers were identified because they had outstanding fines ranging from R5 100 to R117 250," she said.

The municipality has been given 21 days to respond to the report. It was expected to brief the media on Wednesday on the outcome of the investigation.

- SAPA
Read more on:    obed mlaba  |  mike sutcliffe  |  durban  |  corruption  |  politics
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