25 May 2018
Statement by Mayor Zandile Gumede
The city will not allow anyone to stop the audit process by the Office of the Auditor General, said Mayor Zandile Gumede during the press conference held at Durban City Hall on Friday evening.
We note with great regret the withdrawal of the Auditor-General staff from our offices this week which we had become aware of via a letter sent to us on Tuesday, 22 May 2018 by the Auditor General’s Office. At the time both the City Manager Sipho Nzuza and I were out of the country on official business. We take the matter very seriously and have thus shortened our official duties overseas to attend to this.
Earlier this week, our Acting City Manager Phillip Sithole and senior officials met with the Auditor- General (AG) on Wednesday, 23 May 2018, to discuss the issue of threat to the staff members that were auditing our books. I have instructed the Head of Security Management, Mr Dumisani Bhengu to develop a security plan for the AG staff members to ensure they are safeguarded during the auditing period. We are in constant communication with AG office, we hope that by next week they will be back onsite.
We will not allow this situation to be left unattended, police and all law enforcement agencies must prioritise this matter. This matter must be dealt with thoroughly and it must not repeat itself. Organs of state, chapter 9 and independent institutions should be allowed to do their work without fear or favour.
We are fully committed to clean governance, I recently met with Auditor General, Kimi Makwetu, on 01 March 2018, and I committed to support the AG and to also strengthen our controls and oversight on governance issues. In addition, all Senior Municipal Officials including the City Manager have also confirmed that they had meetings with the office of the Auditor General on 16 May 2018, and they committed to fully support the auditing process.
We welcome the announcement made by MEC responsible for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Ms Nomusa Dube-Ncube, to investigate the allegations. The Municipality will fully cooperate with the investigation. We will ensure that this happens without any hindrance or interference.
The results of the quarter 3 COGTA Back to Basics Report indicated the overall result of 82% which shows the municipality as a fully functional municipality.
The municipality is amongst the first Metros to establish a Disciplinary Committee to ensure that matters of financial mismanagement are dealt with decisively.
I want to express my deep concern and disappointment of the recent hostage situation that occurred at the Durban Solid Waste offices on Wednesday, 23 May 2018. Two Senior Managers were held hostage by members of a business forum which was demanding payment. I want to highlight that the City followed due SCM processes in that the City was confirming and verifying work done which all contractors are aware prior to payment. The process was still within the 30 day payment period as per our policy.
The Municipality strongly forbids this kind of behavior. We will not tolerate an assault on our staff or put the lives of our residents in danger.
I want to apologies to the residents of Umlazi for the disruption to their services which has now resumed with the deployment of permanent staff. As a caring city we will ensure that all steps are taken to protect workers. We will not allow this to occur again.
Our officials are working on a plan that will increase security in all our offices and venues. We have noticed that there has been numerous incident of people coming to threaten our officials and visitors. We are strengthening our security as part of fighting criminals.
Fighting Crime and Corruption
We will continue with our fight on crime and corruption. This is what we promised our people during our elections campaign. We are intensifying the fight against fraud and corruption in the city.
Let me highlight some of the recent achievements since under this administration took office:
1. One person was arrested in the South of Durban for illegal sale of low cost houses and is currently out on bail but continues doing the same at Cornubia and the law enforcement is still searching for him.
2. Two of our officials were arrested for a scam in which they were selling jobs and are currently out on bail.
3. Two individuals who had submitted fraudulent payslips into a car dealership were apprehended when taking delivery of the vehicles.
4. One person was apprehended for issuing false proof of residence documents.
5. Through the continuous outreach programmes we have managed to create awareness and encourage people to report fraud and corruption where ever they see it.
The eThekwini Municipality through its Fraud and Anti-Corruption Policy, aims to build an ethical and corrupt-free municipality.
Institutional mechanisms such as the City Integrity and Investigation Unit, the Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC), The Ethics committee, and an independent Audit Committee are in place to provide oversight of financial management and integrity of the municipality. Legislation such as the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) also applies and provides guidance.
Good governance remains a key priority for the City. Anyone who transgresses good business principles with the City, be it a member of the Executive, an ordinary Councillor, any member of our staff or private companies trading with the City, will be dealt with by the full force of the law. The City Investigations Unit have completed 326 investigations over the last financial year.
The Municipality has adopted a zero tolerance stance on all forms of corruption, fraud and maladministration and have established numerous measures to prevent fraud and corruption in the city structures. These include the Municipal Public Accounts committee and an Independent Audit Committee. A new Disciplinary committee and a black listing committee has also been formed to deter fraud and corruption.
We will continue to drive a corruption free City. I encourage you to report any incidence of fraud and corruption in our City to our City Investigation Unit on 080 020 2020 (toll free) or email ombuds@durban.gov.za.
Unqualified Audit - AG Report
We are also pleased to announce that eThekwini Municipality has again received an unqualified audit and the municipal entities, Durban ICC and Ushaka Marine World have both received clean audit outcomes for the 2016/17 financial year. The report was released by the Auditor-General of South Africa, Kimi Makwetu, on 24 May 2018 and covered the Municipal Audit Outcomes for the financial year ending 30 June 2017.
The report reflected that the number of findings was significantly reduced with no major or material issues. We have implemented a zero-tolerance approach to non-compliance and an intense focus and commitment towards good governance. As reported in the media earlier this week, the blacklisting of 42 suppliers for five years has occurred.
I am pleased that there has been a significant decrease in irregular expenditure in the last financial year to the extent of 60%.
The City is committed on improving governance and consequence management. A number of breaches have been referred to the City Integrity and Investigations Unit for further investigation and are using all other avenues available to the Municipality to address transgressions.
Issued by eThekwini Municipality. For enquiries contact Mthunzi Gumede on 072 412 7701
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