Council makes a start on fraud prosecutions
Disciplinary action against senior eThekwini municipal officials implicated in the Manase and Associates corruption report has begun.
DISCIPLINARY action against senior eThekwini municipal officials implicated in the damning Manase and Associates corruption report has begun.
City manager Sbu Sithole said: “On February 29, the council took a decision to proceed with disciplinary action against senior managers reporting to the city manager. Consultation has already taken place with the affected individuals, except one, who is indisposed.”
But DA caucus leader Tex Collins is not convinced that the process will be transparent.
“As far as the Manase report is concerned, none of these people have been charged. The law requires that before a person is hauled before a hearing he has to be charged and be given an opportunity to defend himself. Also, I sit on the executive committee but I have not seen the report, so how am I expected to make an informed decision? I found the whole process to be fundamentally flawed, which is typical of this council.”
Several senior managers, and councillors on the committee, were fingered in the scathing Manase and Associates report, which alleged corruption and fraud amounting to billions of rands.
The Manase audit firm confirmed a finding by the auditor-general that there had been irregular spending of R532-million in the year to June 30 2010, a figure that rose to more than R1.3-billion the following year.
An audit by forensic investigators Ngubane & Company last year also uncovered fraud and corruption.
Sithole said the discipliningof officials who reported to the city manager was handled differently to the procedures regulated by collective bargaining agreements.
“Nobody has resigned or had their service terminated. The council believes that all affected individuals must be subjected to fair and unbiased disciplinary processes … we want to reiterate that no one will be given any favours ... all officials will be treated equally ... any insinuations that may be created that no one will face the music ... are completely unfounded.”
Sithole said deputy city manager for procurement and infrastructure Derek Naidoo, who was also implicated in the report, had not resigned, as media reports said.
His contract expired in 2007 but he continued to work for the municipality on a month-to-month basis.