Statement By City Manager Sipho Nzuza In Respect Of The Corruption And Maladministration Allegations In EThekwni Municipality
 
1 MARCH 2018
 
(EMBARGO: 13H00, 1 MARCH 2018)
 
CITY HALL, DURBAN
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Programme Director;
 
Heads of Departments;
 
Colleagues;
 
Members of the Media;
 
All protocol observed.
 
We are pleased to welcome you ladies and gentlemen to this media briefing in respect of the corruption and maladministration allegations in eThekwini Municipality.
 
Last month, I received copies of forensic reports from the eThekwini City Integrity and Investigations Unit 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 toilets to certain wards in the City.
 
I wish to categorically state that these investigations were instituted by the City Integrity and Investigations Unit, owing to eThekwini Municipality’s long standing commitment to good and clean governance.
 
This is an unprecedented move that the Municipality has taken because we do not discuss internal disciplinary matters with external parties. With that being said, we want this process to be conducted in a transparent manner so that we can allay any fears that there is undue political involvement or untoward influence in municipal administration affairs.
 
ACTION TAKEN:
 
In line with my responsibilities as the Accounting Officer of this organisation which has a budget of R45 billion for the 2017/18 financial year. I am therefore compelled to act against those who violate the Municipal Finance Management Act and those who flout Council processes.
 
Upon studying the contents of both forensic investigation reports conducted by the City Integrity and Investigations Unit, which is a Municipal Department mandated to investigate all allegations of fraud and corruption in the City, I have implemented the recommended action:
 
• Which 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 and within the ambits of the law.
 
• 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.
 
Furthermore, the Municipality has a functional Independent Financial Disciplinary Board chaired by an esteemed law expert.
 
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.
 
To ensure the integrity of the process, bearing in mind that these matters will be under criminal investigation, we need to be cautious about the pronouncements we make on these matters because anything we do and say could be used against us in the court of law.
 
We wish to reiterate that eThekwini Municipality has a zero-tolerance stance towards officials who use public funds for personal gain.
The City has a functional Blacklisting Committee that ensures that service providers that are found to be in breach of the MFMA and SCM regulations are blacklisted and prevented from doing business with the municipality and the public sector.
 
Blacklisting is important to ensure that the City deals with reputable and honest companies as the Municipality is entrusted with public funds and must maximise value for money.
 
EThekwini Municipality is committed to clean governance and has blacklisted over 20 companies to-date for a number of offences. Their offenses ranged from non-disclosure of business interests, falsifying documents, defrauding the Municipality and tender collusion.
 
We trust that the media will report factually and objectively so that all stakeholders, including the business community and ratepayers, will now be better informed about the decisive action that the Municipality has taken to root out corruption.
 
THANK YOU
 
Issued by eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Unit.
 
Please read this confidentiality disclaimer: http://www.durban.gov.za/Pages/edisclaimer.aspx