Municipality responds to allegations of maladministration

2019-10-09 06:01

THE UMVOTI Municipality responded to allegations of maladministration that surfaced during a march held by the National Freedom Party (NFP) last month.

uMvoti Municipality Mayor Thami Ngubane called a media briefing in Durban last week to apprise and acquaint the public on the municipality’s position in response to the memorandum of grievances submitted by the NFP.

In a statement, the municipality said that, with regards to the allegations against the uMvoti Municipality and its mayor, “facts have been twisted and [the] truth bent to feed a propagandist narrative of a non-caring and reckless municipality”.

“Recently we have seen brazen efforts, by some former leaders in the municipality who still have an axe to grind with the ANC-led municipality, [to] spread outlandish and baseless claims all intended to tarnish the image of the uMvoti Municipality,” the municipality said in the statement.

Alleged abuse of protection services

One concern raised by the NFP in the memorandum was the provision of security services to senior managers in the municipality.

“The provision of security services to senior managers within [the municipality] followed the brutal murder of one of the senior managers, the late Thobani Ndaba, director of Community Services, whilst he was in the line of duty and for reasons which have, to date, not been confirmed by law enforcement agencies.

“A council resolution was taken that all senior managers should be assigned security pending the finalisation of investigations into Ndaba’s murder. The additional security measures included the provision of external guarding services at all municipal buildings as an attempt to minimise as well as mitigate the risk of another fatal incident [occurring].

“It concerns us that there are people who seem to have a penchant appetite for the weakening of security in uMvoti, even against the background of this gruesome murder of an employee,” said the municipality.

Tender processes

The municipality said all municipal tenders are carried out in line with the relevant legislative processes as outlined in the Municipal Finance Management Act 56 of 2003 and the Municipal Supply Chain Regulations.

“Any deviations from the normal chain processes are accordingly reported to the relevant governance structures on a monthly and quarterly basis. The organisers of the march are at liberty to submit a list of tenders alleged to not have been undertaken through an open and transparent tender process and the municipality will gladly supply proof of process followed,” said the municipality.

“We also encourage those who are making the allegations of tender fraud to report this to the Auditor-General, the Public Protector, the provincial government, or any law enforcement agencies. We subscribe to the principles of an open, transparent and accountable government and we have nothing to hide.”

Non-payment of driving schools

The municipality also responded to the issue of non-payment of driving schools relating to a municipal driver’s license programme.

“During the 2018/2019 financial year the municipality, under its youth-based programmes, conceptualised a driver’s license programme. The objective of the programme was to empower the unemployed and underprivileged youth across the 14 wards with driving skills, enabling the youth to utilise the skill in their job-seeking efforts. The project was to be undertaken in partnership with the local driving schools through the Driving School Association.

“The project did not commence within the envisaged time frames due to two main challenges, which included the non-readiness of the nine driving schools compliance with the relevant supply chain management requirements as well as the pricing negotiations between the Driving School Association and the municipality. The delays in finalising both the aforementioned processes resulted in the project being carried over into the 2019/20 financial year through the accruals process pending the finalisation of the pricing negotiations processes. We can confirm that no payment has been processed to date to any of the nine driving schools pending the conclusion of all the necessary administration processes. However, the invoices submitted for purposes of committing the expenditure against the budget to avoid forfeiting the budgets have been raised on the financial system as accruals which will subsequently be reflected on the age analysis until payment has been processed. Claims suggesting that payment has been processed for work not yet undertaken are baseless and are, in fact, false.”

Cogta appointments

In relation to the employees of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) and the alleged dubious appointments, the municipality said all Section 56 and Section 57 appointments made by council have been undertaken in line with the relevant legislative framework (Local Government: Regulations on appointment and conditions of Employment of Senior Managers) and documentation in that regard is available for inspection.

“Acting appointments are made through the secondment of available senior manager’s on the national Cogta database in line with the requirements of the regulations mentioned above. There is no law prohibiting a seconded senior manager from applying for the position in which they have been acting when the position is advertised during the formal recruitment process, nor is there a guarantee that, even if the same senior manager had not been seconded through the national Cogta database, [he/she] would have still submitted an application for employment and would have been eligible for employment since the eligibility for employment is not determined by the secondment criteria but rather the meeting of the recruitment criteria for the position in question, as stipulated in the country’s labour laws.

“We reject the false allegations with the contempt they deserve. These allegations are not only fictitious but spurious and baseless. The only intention they serve is to cause damage and create a false impression of instability in the uMvoti Municipality. These allegations are part of a smear campaign against the municipality, with its mayor being the prime target of this vicious and unrelenting onslaught.

“These are desperate efforts to smudge the name and image of the municipality and its councillors so that they are seen [to be making] wrong decisions and [they are] therefore unfit to hold office. Those who still suffer from a hangover of being in the municipality must not embark on a campaign of political stealth by misleading members of the public. They are welcome to contest and win, but must never embark on outlandish efforts to take cheap shots at the uMvoti Municipality in the [futile] hope that they can take it back [and] milk it because their business fortunes are waning and fast dissipating and hence they now clutch at straws, seeking to gain access to the municipality by hook or crook and spreading lies.”


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