Guns blaze at legislature

2008-02-15 00:00

Corruption: Accusations fly as ANC, opposition slug it out

THE alleged split of ANC councillors at Msunduzi Municipality and the corrupt practices at uMgungundlovu district dominated the legislature’s debate into Premier Sbu Ndebele’s state of the province address.

Ndebele and his executive came under fire from opposition parties yesterday during the debate. Opposition parties said Ndebele had failed to address some key issues facing these and other municipalities.

They lambasted him for also having failed to address corruption at some government departments.

Leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) at the legislature Lionel Mtshali said Ndebele’s verbal commitment to promoting good governance and fighting corruption was just not enough, adding that government needed to act on this.

Mtshali accused Ndebele of shielding ANC-aligned officials who were found to be involved in some corrupt practices.

“A certain Thabani Zulu, former HOD of Social Development, has cost the provincial fiscus quite a fortune. Businessman Lucky Moloi, who walked away with R1,3 million of uMgungundlovu District Municipality’s money, attended the opening of this legislature sporting a strikingly fashionable outfit. These people are being shielded from police investigation by the party that has promised to fight corruption,” he said.

In similar vein, DA caucus leader Roger Burrows inquired about the state of the province’s local governments.

“We are told that some 32 of the 61 municipalities are subject to inquiries.

“Some, such as Howick and uMgungundlovu, are subject to forensic audit. In many of them, such as here in Msunduzi, ANC members are clashing not with the DA or IFP, but with fellow ANC members. What is going on — where are the reports? Quite frankly, you and the MEC deserve to give the province an answer, and you haven’t!”

Giving her impression of the address, the African Christian Democratic Party’s Jo-Annne Downs said: “The premier’s address was long on poetry and short on substance”.

On the alleged ongoing corruption at the department of Agriculture, Downs said she has been informed that a former head of the department, Dr Jabulani Mjwara, is still benefiting from the department.

According to Downs’s information, Mjwara had been awarded contracts totalling about R2 million by the department.

ANC MPLs retaliated by launching a scathing attack on the opposition.

Mtholephi Mthimkhulu referred to Mtshali’s statements as gutter politicking from a man who “has long reached his political sell by date”.

Ina Cronjé, the education MEC, said the current provincial government had inherited corrupt officials from the IFP-led former governments.

Another ANC MPL, Senzo Mchunu, referred to Mtshali’s transportation by Learjet from his home to the then Ulundi Legislature as “decent corruption”.

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