New tape war at City Hall

2020-02-11 04:30
City Hall

City Hall (File)

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The City Hall has been rocked by another viral audio clip, this time carrying damning allegations of the “capture” of Msunduzi’s chief audit executive, Petrus Mahlaba.

The clip, which circulated on social media over the weekend, contained a voice suspected to be of a City employee bragging that Mahlaba was taking instruction from him on which City employees to suspend and fire.

However, on Monday, Mahlaba rejected the allegations and warned officials against using his name and that of the internal audit unit in their “revenge” fights.

In the clip a man, whose name is known to The Witness, was chatting to another man, discussing disciplinary cases faced by some of the City’s employees and their ex-colleagues who have since left. The Witness is withholding the names of some of the employees mentioned.

He mentioned at least three employees in various departments, who had been suspended.

“I’m the one who got [X] out … Mahlaba listens to whatever we say … We also got [Y] suspended,” he said.

The discussion also goes on to the suspension of the head of risk and security, Kwenza Khumalo, which The Witness has reported on.

The voice on the clip also said he pushed for Khumalo’s former supervisor, the ex-general manager for community services, Boniwe Zulu, to be fired.

Zulu was dismissed in November after she was found guilty on several charges related to alleged irregularities in the security tender.

“When she was given the letter Mahlaba sent it to me and said Boniwe is gone, are you happy? I’m now gunning for Kwenza.”

He admitted that he did not get along with Khumalo because of some political issues between them. “The day Kwenza comes back, I will slaughter a cow for them. Kwenza will not come back,” the man on the clip also said.

The Witness made contact with the man whose voice is heard on the clip, who said he is aware of the allegations circulating that he captured the internal audit unit, but said he is “still consulting” and would respond fully to queries today.

Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the City was aware of the existence of the audio clip but could not comment on the contents as it had not been formally brought to the municipality.

Meanwhile, Mahlaba said he was disappointed to learn that certain individuals were using his name and that of the internal audit unit to push their personal agendas without realising the extent of the damage they caused.

He said his unit was independent and not influenced by any official, member of the public or politician. He said the unit, therefore, answered to the audit committee — an external body — which played an oversight role on internal audit.

Mahlaba said their forensic investigation wing dealt with irregularities such as maladministration, fraud, theft and corruption that was brought to the attention of the municipality, either through the anonymous hotline or by whistle-blowers.

Mahlaba would not get into the specifics of the cases involved.

“We assess all the matters reported to ensure that it’s something that’s worth investigating because we are wary of people that would want to use us to get revenge against other officials or politicians.”

He denied he had anything to do with the suspension or dismissal of officials, saying that was the responsibility of the municipal manager and council.

Speaking specifically on Khumalo and Zulu’s cases, he said those were probed by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

He said he was also aware of attempts to discredit the audit team but the unit would continue doing its work objectively, without fear or favour.

Repeated attempts to contact Khumalo were unsuccessful yesterday as his phone went straight to voicemail.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  city hall

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