NINE Umzinyathi officials were suspended last week by the Umzinyathi District Mayor, Petros Ngubane, based on the findings of forensic audits instituted by the mayor since taking office in June when his party, the IFP, won the district. In his first public press statement he said he would take immediate action to investigate, thorough forensic audits, the R300 million irregular expenditure that could not be accounted for by the Umzinyathi Municipality.In an interview with the Greytown Gazette on Monday, the mayor said the HOD Corporate Services, middle management covering finance, were among the suspended based on four forensic audits undertaken by Cogta, the Treasury, the Public Protector and Umzinyathi. The next step will be hearings – in the meantime acting personnel have been placed to do these jobs. The hearings, the mayor said, would be outsourced depending on the outcome, the individual charged and made to pay back the money or the attachment of property.Following on this the mayor called in Umzinyathi contractors on October 5 and Umzinyathi consultants on October 6 to look into projects, payments, etc. These discussions revealed problems faced by some of the service providers with the municipality as well as irregular payments and appointments, which could result in some of them be subpoenaed, pending the hearings. One consultant had been on the books with Umzinyathi Municipality since 2005 - with the project not completed. In another the municipality had been invoiced, and paid up twice, for the same project.To highlight the progress made since June, the mayor will present his 100-day report on action in Msinga. He said the presentation will take place at a major water scheme in Msinga, which has not been in operation, as it was not connected up by Eskom. He said it is hoped electricity will be on line within two weeks and he would tie this launch in with the presentation of the 100-day report. And saving the really good news for last - thanks to an interdict granted to Umzinyathi District Municipality against Rietvlei residents and Mpofana Municipality the Craigieburn pipeline is expected to be pulsating with water to drought-stricken residents by very early next year. The mayor said that “some politicians” had promised residents in Rietvlei and around Craigieburn, housing, roads and a shopping centre. When these did not materialise the residents blocked the usage of water from the dam. However, the mayor said with the granting of the interdict the pipeline, complete with flowing water, would now be a rea- lity.