Faith Muthambi: eThekwini officials must account for R2.3bn in irregular expenditure

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Faith Muthambi.
Faith Muthambi.
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  • Cogta parliament committee chair Faith Muthambi says officials will have to account for eThekwini Metro's R2.3bn irregular expenditure.
  • She praised current mayor Mxolisi Kaunda for restoring the municipal finances and compliance.
  • She would not be drawn into questions on previous mayor Zandile Gumede's role in the wasted billions.

Regardless of who the political leadership in the eThekwini Metro is, officials behind the whopping R2.3 billion irregular expenditure in the last financial year will have to face the music, the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) committee chair Faith Muthambi said on Friday.

She visited KZN's biggest irregular expenditure culprit as part of her oversight functions in Parliament.

Muthambi said she was pleased with the current administration led by the mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda, but would not be drawn into questions on embattled former mayor Zandile Gumede and her administration's role in the wasted billions.

"I don't want to dwell into that (Gumede) politics because I will be losing focus. This administration, in terms of administrators, are the same officials. These are the same managers that must account for the irregular expenditure," she told journalists.

Gumede is currently out on R50 000 bail for her role in the Durban Solid Waste tender fraud, amounting to over R400 million. She is accused of having used her influence to manipulate tender processes. 

ALSO READ | eThekwini City Manager's return to work is legal, says municipality

Muthambi said one person could not be responsible for all the irregular expenditure, and that officials had to account.

"All these officials that are here… it is their irregular expenditure. That shouldn't be perceived as an irregular expenditure of a particular politician, because then we will be missing the point."

Expectations

Muthambi said their expectation, as the committee, was that wrongdoing would be met with consequence management.

She said supply chain policies had been red-flagged.

"We are trying for them to comply with the law. There is non-compliance with supply chain policies. When that happens, it [supply chain] is prone to fraud, maladministration and corruption. At the end of the day, our interest is what have they done with those officials who have been found wanting?"

Praise

Muthambi was full of praise for Kaunda and his administration, saying they had made efforts to reverse the situation at the metro.

"With the new administration, we have interacted with them twice. In all the previous occasions we have interacted with them, we have given them deadlines and timelines on how they must respond to the issues.

"I can say they have complied with that. What I love about this administration is their commitment. When you meet with the mayor, he talks about commitment and not promises."

READ | Hawks raid 18 properties linked to R700m eThekwini tender fraud case

At the beginning of the year, the Auditor-General reported that the metro had incurred irregular expenditure of around R2.3 billion for the 2018-2019 financial year.

The AG's report stated there was a lack of consequence management.

The municipality had since filtered down instructions that controls on tenders and expenditure had to be tightened.

In a statement earlier this year, the eThekwini metro said its turnaround strategy included monthly reports on procurement planning and the use of Section 36 for emergency procurement without putting it out to tender.

Projects are to be tracked throughout the financial year.

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