‘Show us forensic reports’

2011-12-09 00:00

THE ANC alliance partners in KwaZulu-Natal have criticised the Msunduzi Municipality administrator, Sibusiso Sithole, for downplaying the seriousness of a report issued in October by National Treasury on the state of the municipality.

In a joint press briefing held in Durban yesterday on the state of municipalities in the province, the SA Communist Party, Cosatu and SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) said Sithole’s response to the report was a public relations exercise.

“We heard about the National Treasury report on the state of the Msunduzi Municipality and the following week we see a public relations exercise slamming the report, which was highlighting the real problems of the municipality,” said SACP provincial secretary Themba Mthembu.

“The National Treasury says everything is wrong, but some genius turns around to say everything is well. We should not exercise PR to the detriment of service delivery,” he said.

Cosatu provincial secretary Zet Luzipo said: “We are not trying to downplay the efforts of the intervention team, but it must be noted that there is no single arrest from all those who were in charge of the municipality when it collapsed; so how do we know what exactly happened to Msunduzi if no one is held to account for its financial bankruptcy?

“The municipality might be ready to be out of administration, but the problem will never go away if there is no action against the culprits who brought down the municipality.”

Sithole responded: “The facts speak for themselves. I am talking about what condition the municipality was in when we arrived [compared] to where it is now.”

Samwu provincial secretary Jacee Ncanana said it is difficult to get to the root of the financial problems of municipalities because the forensic reports have not been made public.

“We want the Department of Co-operative Government (Cogta) to release these reports and if it means that we must petition in court then will do that.

“We also want to know the reasons why the first [Msunduzi] administrator, Johann Mettler, had to leave without finishing the job of turning around the municipality.”

Cogta spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said he would not be in a position to comment until he had seen the statement.

The alliance partners cautioned the ANC that it may lose votes if there is no transparency and no action is taken against officials who were responsible for bringing down financially troubled municipalities.

They also called for the process to appoint the new eThekwini municipal manager to be restarted, saying the exercise has been flawed and unfair to other candidates. They said that anyone employed under these circumstances would never have credibility.

They also called for eThekwini speaker Logie Naidoo to release a report naming councillors and officials who have benefited from tenders with the municipality.

•Lack of transformation, lack of revenue and a flood of allegations of fraud, corruption and maladministration. Many fingers are pointing at the management, who are sometimes in collaboration with the politicians, the alliance partners said.

•Most municipalities are driven by capital projects that do not take account of the needs of ratepayers.

•The alliance has approached Cogta for the release of forensic reports, particularly on Msunduzi, eThekwini, Ugu, Mandeni and uMhlathuze.

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