CO-OPERATIVE Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube has formally authorised a forensic investigation into the affairs of the Umzumbe municipal council in terms of section 106 of the Municipal Systems Act. Dube-Ncube announced this in a media statement last week, saying it follows a request by the Umzumbe municipal council. Affairs at the Umzumbe municipality were brought to a halt in recent weeks after employees and community members formed a protest demanding the resignation of the municipal manager, whom they accused of tender fraud and corruption. Dube-Ncube said the investigation will focus on alleged fraud, corruption and maladministration within the municipality. “The investigation follows numerous allegations of fraud, corruption and maladministration levelled against senior officials of the Umzumbe Municipality by various stakeholders, including the local business chamber,” she said. She said she responded to the call of the municipality as this is required of her as the MEC in office.According to Dube-Ncube, if an MEC has reason to believe that a municipality in the province cannot or does not fulfil a statutory obligation binding on that municipality, or that maladministration, fraud, corruption or any other serious malpractice has occurred or is occurring in a municipality in a province, the MEC must:• by written notice to the municipality, request the municipal council or municipal manager to provide the MEC with information required in the notice; or• if the MEC considers it necessary, designate a person or persons to investigate the matter.“As we launch this forensic investigation at Umzumbe, we urge everyone with relevant information here to come forward and assist us in the name of transparency and clean governance in our municipalities,” said Dube-Ncube.Once the investigative work is complete and a final report is available, KZN Cogta will consider the findings and recommendations and ensure the municipality takes appropriate actions.The department is urging all parties to allow the investigation to take its cause and to co-operate fully. “We are also urging all entrepreneurs who are participating in municipal tenders to observe the necessary procedures and desist from exerting pressure on municipal officials outside of these procedures. This is illegal and it will be investigated,” said Dube-Ncube.