1 March 2018
EThekwini Municipality Strengthens Internal Control Processes To Root Out Corruption And Ensure Good Governance
City Manager Sipho Nzuza reiterated the various measures eThekwini Municipality has implemented to root out possible corruption in the awarding of tenders and ensuring adherence to strict Supply Chain Management processes.
This was discussed at a media briefing held in the Executive Committee boardroom at City Hall today, 1 March to provide clarity on corruption and maladministration allegations in eThekwini.
Various heads of vital units in the City including Expenditure, City Integrity and Investigations Unit (CIIU), Legal Services and eThekwini Water and Sanitation Unit were also in attendance at the media briefing.
Briefing the media, Nzuza said he has received copies of forensic reports from the CIIU which detailed allegations of fraud, corruption and maladministration with respect to the awarding of two contracts in the Municipality, namely; the manufacturing and distribution of orange recycling bags and the supply, delivery and the construction of Urine-Diversion (UD) toilets to certain wards in the City.
“I wish to categorically state that these investigations were instituted by CIIU, owing to eThekwini Municipality’s long standing commitment to good and clean governance. Upon studying the contents of both forensic investigation reports conducted by CIIU, which is a Municipal Department mandated to investigate all allegations of fraud and corruption in the City, I have implemented the recommended action.”
Nzuza said this action includes initiating disciplinary processes against those implicated pending further investigation, and ensuring that the matter is dealt with in terms of the Labour Relations Act as well as within the ambits of the law. As a result two officials implicated in the UD toilet tender will be suspended as well as one official facing suspension regarding the orange bag tender.
He said further action taken includes laying criminal charges.
“I wish to clarify that additional work still has to be done as a number of these corruption allegations will be under criminal investigation and the Municipality will cooperate with various law enforcement agencies that may have vested interest in some of the matters.”
Nzuza pointed out the various internal control measures that have been implemented to strengthen oversight and ensure good governance.
This includes the formation of a functional Independent Financial Disciplinary Board chaired by an esteemed law expert.
He said the board includes an official from the KwaZulu-Natal Treasury, a member of the Audit Committee, a Senior Manager in Legal Services and Head of the City Integrity and Investigations Unit.
The board seeks to strengthen the City’s governance processes and improve its accuracy in handling financial misconduct matters. The board also ensures that further steps are taken after recommendations are made and that disciplinary proceedings are carried against the transgressors.
He said disciplinary processes starts with precautionary suspension.
“I want to emphasise that this suspension does not mean that a person is guilty. It is an opportunity to see if we get credible information during the investigation and to ensure that a person does not interfere in the investigation. It will also allow them to prepare to defend themselves.”
Acting Head of Legal Service Sbu Shezi elaborated on a payment made recently to the company awarded the orange bag tender.
Said Shezi: “R7.7 million was awarded to them due to a clause in the contract agreement which stipulates that every year there will be an increase. This amount was due to the company as per the contractual agreement.”
He said however, if the finalised report reveals that there non-compliance as per the contractual agreement, this and other payments made may be recovered.
He said the contract had only six months remaining and normal procedures would be followed including advertising a tender for the supply of orange bags.
Sandile Mnguni, head of Expenditure, clearly outlined the steps taken when a tender is awarded, including the additional control measure implemented by Nzuza.
He said firstly the Bid Specification Committee will review specifications before a tender is advertised. Once they are happy with the specifications, the tender is advertised and tender documents are received.
Thereafter, it goes to the Bid Evaluation Committee where they apply themselves and make recommendations. These recommendations are then made to the Bid Adjudication Committee (BAC) who reviews the documentation to ensure everything is in order.
Mnguni said for tenders under R10 million, the BAC can make the decision whether to award the tender or not.
For tenders over R10 million in value, they would make recommendations to the accounting officer, which is the City Manager, regarding awarding it.
“However, the City Manager has set up the Executive Acquisition Committee to review these applications before it reaches his office. There are six people sitting on this committee who are experts in their fields who will make a recommendation to the City Manager’s office,” he said.
EThekwini Municipality remains committed to good governance and will be undertaking lifestyle audits of employees to further root out possible corruption.
Head of CIIU Mbuso Ngcobo said as part of being proactive the City had planned to conduct lifestyle audits on employees – which would include implicated officials.
“It was part of the plan to conduct lifestyle audits on employees, this is already in place,” he said.
He said CIIU was working with law enforcement agencies regarding possible criminal charges to be laid.
“We have received a number of queries from law enforcement agencies and we are fully cooperating with them. The City remains committed to ensuring clean governance and we will support the South African Police Services as they pursue a criminal investigation.”
In conclusion, Nzuza reiterated that eThekwini Municipality has a zero-tolerance stance towards officials who use public funds for personal gain.
Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Head of Communications Tozi Mthethwa.
Please read this confidentiality disclaimer: