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DA in eThekwini writes to the Public Protector over money spent on lavish parties

The letter to the Public Protector calls for a probe into how these party tenders are awarded.

The letter to the Public Protector calls for a probe into how these party tenders are awarded.

Published Sep 13, 2023


Durban – The DA in eThekwini wrote to the Public Protector of South Africa calling for an investigation into how the municipality’s party tenders were awarded.

DA eThekwini councillor Sakhile Mngadi said the party was fighting to end the ANC/EFF’s wasteful expenditure in eThekwini.

Mngadi said the DA asked the Public Protector and Auditor General to protect the residents from the ANC/EFF coalition of corruption which has seen a rise in fruitless and wasteful expenditure related to the funding of banquets and parties in the city.

He said this came after two reports from the July/August eThekwini council meeting that saw the city approve R1.7 million directed to the City Stars Awards and R10.9m for a series of other parties.

This was in addition to a ludicrous proposal made by the city earlier this year to lease an exclusive cigar lounge to host official meetings, Mngadi said.

“The continued pillage of the city’s resources by the ANC-EFF doomsday coalitions speaks to a bigger problem. The ANC and EFF are hell-bent on securing as much funding as possible for the upcoming elections and want to do this at the taxpayer's expense. eThekwini is in a crisis, hence our letter to the Auditor General requests that recent items passed in council meetings be declared fruitless and wasteful and that these be cited in the AG’s next report,” Mngadi said.

He said an estimated R100 million, “a conservative figure”, had been wasted by the eThekwini Municipality on lavish parties, with no return on investment.

Mngadi said the DA would continue to play its oversight role as the official opposition in the city. The party will ensure that those responsible were brought to book and residents got the services they paid for.

In the letter, titled “Partygate – the noted rise of fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the eThekwini Municipality directed at hosting banquets and parties at the expense of the ratepayer”, Mngadi said: “We refer to the above matter and record that the Democratic Alliance has over the past 3 years noted a steep rise in the number of events hosted by the eThekwini Municipality and the increased amounts allocated to such events. It is a concerning trend that prompts us to formally address this matter as contained herein to the office of the Public Protector to refer these arbitrary expenses and request that they be investigated and condemned accordingly.”

According to the Auditor General’s report, the eThekwini Municipality was found to be severely lacking in consequence management relating to instances of corruption and poor management exacerbated by political infighting, the lack of political will and the failure to implement corrective rulings by state agencies, Mngadi’s letter read. “These findings, as highlighted by the Auditor General’s Report of 2022/23, are threatening eThekwini’s future financial viability and its ability to deliver basic services to its 3.77 million residents.”

The Auditor General's findings related to the above-mentioned failures include:

  1. The failure of the city to recover the R1.5 billion it had spent irregularly and the continued inability to implement disciplinary or criminal proceedings against staff and managers implicated in financial irregularities by independent investigations.
  2. eThekwini had regressed in terms of procurement, contract management and maintenance and repairs, spending only 6.59% of its budget on maintaining assets and 5.14% on capital expenditure.
  3. More than 56% of the water purchased by the city was lost and did not make it to consumers, a large part of which can be attributed to the low maintenance and repair spending by the city.
  4. eThekwini had operated its Kingsburgh, Isipingo and Mpumalanga waste-water treatment works without valid operating licences, while the northern wastewater treatment works had not been maintained to prevent it from malfunctioning.
  5. eThekwini did not have maintenance plans to inform the budget needed to maintain its assets and thus faced major water and electricity supply challenges due to failing infrastructure.

“Considering the above we would like to formally register a complaint and recommend that the office of the Public Protector fully investigate these instances of fruitless and wasteful expenditure and make available a report to the Democratic Alliance in eThekwini to that effect in the interests of the residents and ratepayers of the city,” Mngadi wrote.

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