Province intervention ends

2011-12-16 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality will start the new year free from the shackles of provincial administration.

The KZN cabinet resolved on Wednesday that the provincial intervention team will be withdrawn on December 31 and that the municipality will be left to fend for itself.

However, criminal charges will continue to be investigated against senior officials, including former municipal manager Rob Haswell, for their alleged role in the municipality’s financial crisis.

This was confirmed by the MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Nomusa Dube, in reply to a parliamentary question by the Democratic Alliance.

Dube said criminal charges were instituted that relate to allegations of the contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act and its regulations, maladministration and a breach of his duties by the former municipal manager.

Administrator Sbu Sithole confirmed the criminal investigation was proceeding.

He said this did not contradict earlier reports that the National Prosecuting Authority had declined to prosecute Haswell based on an SAPS investigation.

He said the investigations went back as far as 2009 and involved the Special Investigation Unit (SIU).

SIU spokespersonMarika Muller said she would need to check with the KZN team about the Msunduzi investigation and that they were not available yesterday.

Haswell’s wife, Penny, said he was unwell and he had nothing to say.

The announcement of the end of the intervention was made at yesterday’s council meeting by Cogta head of department Nonhlanhla Qhobosheane.

She said the cabinet had resolved that, since there were signs of stability at the municipality, it was time the intervention was withdrawn.

Sithole, who will be leaving to head eThekwini Municipality, said there were still issues the municipality would have to attend to before it became fully productive.

These were steps to ensure that its finances were sustainable and that skilled posts were filled.

Sithole said national treasury and Cogta would be monitoring progress as the municipality found its feet and would be available to assist.

Both departments would help the new municipal manager, Mxolisi Nkosi, to ensure he was fully briefed on the intervention and the turnaround strategy.

There were congratulations all round and councillors clapped at the news.

The DA’s Bill Lambert said all credit should go to Dube for having the courage and the foresight to put the municipality under adminstration. “ … had she not done so, we wouldn’t have been sitting here today as the municipality would have been absolutely insolvent and council would have been dissolved.”

The Inkatha Freedom Party’s Dolo Zondi was concerned that the end of the intervention might be premature, saying there was still a lot to be done.

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