City’s Mnguni against Zulu

2016-04-28 13:31
The red-brick road around the City Hall.

The red-brick road around the City Hall. (Jonathan Burton)

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Pietermaritzburg - The chairperson of Msunduzi ­Municipality’s Audit Committee, Sandile Mnguni, has written a scathing letter calling on the city to reconsider its decision to suspend audit ­committee manager Petrus Mahlaba.

The letter, addressed to acting ­municipal manager Boniwe Zulu and of which The Witness has a copy, states Mahlaba’s suspension is inconsistent with and in violation of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).

Members of the audit committee are also unhappy that they were not consulted about Mahlaba’s suspension and learnt about it via the media.

Mnguni says the audit committee is “very concerned” over Mahlaba’s ­suspension as the city management had not alerted them to any difficulties that may have been encountered and which allegedly led to the suspension.

It is believed Mahlaba was ­suspended for allegedly failing to ­provide information to officials of the Department of Co-operative ­Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) for their investigation into ­irregularities at Msunduzi.

The MFMA states that the Internal Audit Unit is directly accountable functionally to the Audit Committee.

This accountability applies despite the administrative location of the unit under the office of the municipal ­manager. “The Internal Audit Unit is responsible to the Accounting Officer to ensure that it provides assurance as to the effectiveness and efficiency of the systems of internal controls, risk management and governance process employed in the municipality.

“This should not, however, be ­construed as channelling the Internal Audit’s direct responsibility to the ­Accounting Officer as this function ­reports to the Audit Committee as set out in Section 166 of the MFMA,” reads a municipal document on ­internal audits.

Meanwhile, in a confidential report to the city’s full council, the audit ­committee members further expressed their unhappiness at the way Mahlaba’s suspension was carried out.

The report states that the ­committee should have been consulted before Mahlaba was suspended. ­Instead, the committee only learnt of the development through the media.

“We would like to advise the council that we do not concur with the ­decision to suspend [Mahlaba] as we were not consulted and afforded the opportunity to resolve the ­disagreement,” the report read.

It states that Zulu had an ­opportunity to raise the issues ­pertaining to Mahlaba’s suspension, but chose not to do so.

The audit committee added that the appointment of Mahlaba’s replacement was also not done according to the requirements of the legislation.

Cogta spokesperson Lennox ­Mabaso said the department could not comment on the matter as Mahlaba’s suspension was Msunduzi’s internal matter.

“Msunduzi is not under ­administration and Cogta is only ­conducting an independent ­investigation into the municipality.

“We cannot comment on the hiring and firing in internal matters within the municipality,” he said.

Msunduzi spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said the city could not ­comment on the matter as it was ­before the courts.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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