‘A junior gave green light’

2013-07-16 00:00

THE RTI recruitment commission of inquiry heard how a junior Msunduzi Municipality employee flouted procedures by permitting the Transport Department to use the Harry Gwala stadium.

Kwenza Khumalo, acting senior manager for public safety enforcement and disaster management at the municipality, yesterday testified that Victor Phetha, a junior municipal employee, authorised the use of the stadium.

Khumalo said he had only learned that an event was being held at the stadium when he received a text message on December 27 from acting deputy municipal manager Sipho Dubazane, requesting him to investigate whether the venue had been booked for a fitness exercise taking place at the time.

Khumalo said having worked as a senior manager for community services he was familiar with the booking system and he phoned the municipality to confirm if the event had been booked. It transpired that the booking was never authorised.

“The booking clerk confirmed that there was no booking, either of NGOs or government departments,” he said.

During his investigation, Khumalo said he learned that Phetha had given permission to the Transport Department to use the venue.

“I tried to phone Phetha but he was unavailable, and I then texted him and that is when he responded. So I decided to go to the stadium to see what was going on there,” he said.

There he met Sibusiso Sithole from the Transport Department, who asked for municipal assistance as problems were being experienced with medical casualties and a lack of parking space.

Khumalo said while he was with Sithole, Phetha arrived and explained that he had given permission for use of the stadium.

“Phetha told me that he was asked by the Transport Department officials for permission to use the parking lot … and for the use of the space inside the stadium for registering participants,” he said.

Khumalo said Phetha admitted he was shocked at the situation on the ground because it was contrary to what had been agreed to.

Khumalo then advised the Transport Department to call an urgent disaster management meeting, considering the venue was also to be used the following day.

He said normally, for an event of this magnitude, the onus would be on the organiser to call a security cluster meeting and plan in advance. “If we had sat down to plan, I’m sure we would have done much better,” he said, adding that calling an urgent meeting was not legitimising the event but an attempt at damage control.

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