Top eThekwini officials to be sacked

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Two top eThekwini officials are to be sacked at the end of the month and five others subjected to internal disciplinary hearings as a result of the damning Manase and Associates forensic report.

The contracts of Derek Naidoo, deputy city manager for infrastructure and human settlement, and Bheki Mkhize, deputy city manager for safety and security, are to be terminated on June 30, but they will continue cashing their pay cheques for several more months.

Naidoo, who has served in the municipality for more than a decade and has an annual salary of R1.6 million, will get his salary for six months.

Mkhize, whose annual package is R1.4m, is to be paid his salary for two months after being “released” from his contract, sources have told The Mercury.

Naidoo was fingered in the Manase report for failure to comply with supply-chain management policies and failure to exercise due care and diligence in dealing with matters before the bid adjudication committee.

Municipal spokesman Thabo Mofokeng confirmed that the contracts would not be renewed.

“The portions of allegations in the Manase report related to Mr Naidoo will be forwarded to him by the city manager by July 15. Council reserves its rights to pursue civil claims and/or press criminal charges,” he said.

It also emerged during yesterday’s closed full council meeting that internal disciplinary charges had been brought against city treasurer Krish Kumar and the head of the geographic information and policy unit, Jacquie Subban, for transgressions, outlined in the Manase report.

Other senior officials who face disciplinary action include procurement head Thembinkosi Shezi, deputy head of procurement policy and support services Andre Pietersen and deputy head of housing Yunus Sacoor.

The Manase report had recommended that disciplinary action be taken against Subban for the irregular awarding of two contracts and for negligence that led to a supplier being paid R2.6m twice. The second transaction was reversed.

The report recommended disciplinary action be taken against Kumar for failing to take reasonable steps to prevent irregular expenditure.

The council was also told that some officials and councillors continued to do business with the city even after the Manase probe.

Although the report, yet to be made public, has been handed to the government's anti-corruption task team – which includes the Hawks, the Special Investigating Unit and the National Prosecuting Authority – no charges have been formally laid against officials.

Political parties that used the Promotion of Access to Information Act were told they would get the full Manase report and annexures by the end of next month.

“Sithole continues to say there is a criminal investigation... but councillors have not been told the outcome of that investigation. Not a word was said on former city manager Michael Sutcliffe and former mayor Obed Mlaba,” another source said.

The report also found that 30 trainee metro police constables had bought their driving licences after heeding the advice of metro police college instructors, who had directed them to illegal driving schools.

Also, 14 metro officers were taxi owners, in contravention of metro police policies and national legislation.

Those constables would have to redo their driving tests and there was a “strong potential the 14 metro officers who own taxis will be suspended”.

Disciplinary processes for senior management and other staff on allegations of irregular expenditure and those found to be doing business with the municipality would be finalised by the end of August.

New cases involving officials and councillors doing business with the municipality have been referred to the office of the Speaker Logie Naidoo. Those that relate to officials are to be referred to Sithole for disciplinary proceedings.

Mkhize, Kumar, Subban, Shezi, Pietersen and Sacoor could not be reached for comment. Naidoo said: “ I have not been served with any notice with regard to my contract being terminated.” - The Mercury


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