IFP calls for municipality to be dissolved

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

File picture - eThekwini Municipal Manager Sibusiso Sithole. PICTURE: GCINA NDWALANE

Durban - The Inkatha Freedom Party has called for the dissolution of the eThekwini municipality after it failed to release a forensic report on fraud and corruption.

The IFP's eThekwini caucus leader Mdu Nkosi said on Friday government intervention was needed in the municipality.

“The failure of Mayor Nxumalo to release the full Manase report... is a clear indication that his executive is trying to delay and divert attention from the allegations of municipal mismanagement in the report.”

Nkosi said this was leaving the daily functioning of the municipality in limbo.

“We call on Premier Zweli Mkhize and the MEC for Local Government, Ms Nomsa Dube, to dissolve the municipality in terms of Section 139 of the Constitution and to appoint an administrator.”

The city was supposed to have released the full contents of the report to political parties on July 16 and to the public on Tuesday.

However, on August 1, the mayor said the full report would not be released as this would prejudice those involved, including former municipal manager Mike Sutcliffe.

Nxumalo said the report would not remain a secret and that the city was still committed to releasing it once all processes were completed.

Nkosi said the provincial government was “implicating itself” if it did not insist on the release of the full Manase report.

The probe was instituted after Auditor-General Terence Nombembe said in his 2009/10 report that R532 million had been irregularly spent by the municipality.

The investigation contained accusations against a number of senior officials.

It found that 10 councillors had business interests with entities which conducted business with the eThekwini Municipality.

The Manase report reportedly also found that Sutcliffe contravened the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act by not reporting fraudulent and corrupt activities.

It concluded that Sutcliffe failed to deal with the fraud and corruption which had been raised in a previous report to the police.

According to the report, he only dealt with the matter two years later, costing the municipality R1.1 million.

On Friday afternoon, the Daily News reported that the Democratic Alliance had released a letter written by Sutcliffe in February last year and sent it to National Treasury.

In this letter, Sutcliffe raised concerns over alleged political interference by African National Congress regional executives, as well as members of the city's executive council.

The DA's eThekwini leader Tex Collins was quoted as saying: “The Manase (audit) investigations into irregularities allegedly claim that Sutcliffe failed to report corruption. But Sutcliffe's letter casts the Manase allegations in a very different light.”

He said the failure of the current municipal manager Sibusiso Sithole and Dube to point out the letter's existence was an indictment against them.

Collins could not immediately be reached for comment by Sapa, but he told the Daily News that he would be asking the Public Protector to investigate.

Sutcliffe, who earlier this year announced that he would be suing Sithole for R8 million in damages, could not be reached for comment.

Comment was not immediately available from eThekwini municipality.

Ndabezinhle Sibiya, the spokesman for KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize could also not be reached for comment. - Sapa


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