uMngeni faces rigorous probe

2010-02-05 00:00

A COMMISSION of inquiry with far-reaching legal powers has been appointed by the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government to investigate uMngeni Municipality.

The aim of the inquiry is to deal decisively with damning evidence produced by a forensic investigation commissioned by the former provincial MEC for local government, Mike Mabuyakhulu.

A key aspect of the probe will be the conduct of suspended uMngeni municipal manager Dumisani Vilakazi, and whether he has compromised the municipality’s credibility and integrity.

MEC for Co-operative Governance Nomsa Dube said the commission was set up after the uMngeni Municipality had challenged the findings of the MEC’s forensic investigation. The municipality decided to carry out its own investigation, producing a “watered-down” document which sought to exonerate senior officials.

Faced with two conflicting reports, Dube’s department sought legal opinion.

The advice received by the department was that the MEC’s forensic investigation was sound, with extensive corroborating documents.

The report on the investigation recommended that Vilakazi and senior managers face criminal charges arising from certain allegations.

Dube said the commission will also deal with further allegations of irregularities at the municipality since the 2007 probe.

Durban advocate Vusi Khuzwayo heads the commission, its secretary is Dumisani Xaba and the lead prosecutor is Paul Schoeman.

Dube said the terms of reference for the investigation include:

• Allegations as well as a paper trail pertaining to an overseas trip taken by Vilakazi, the acquisition of the mayor’s house, inflated salaries and exorbitant car allowances.

• The alleged failure of the municipal manager to comply with a ruling by the SA Human Rights Commission relating to the rating of retirement villages in the municipality.

• Alleged interference by Vilakazi in the administration of the municipality, contrary to the terms of his suspension.

• The alleged failure by the municipal manager to act and behave in the best interests of uMngeni, resulting in the credibility and integrity of the municipality being compromised.

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