Durban ICC rejects allegations over hosting ANC events

The Durban ICC denies any allegations of corruption or claims of collusion with the ANC concerning the hosting of their events. Picture: Durban ICC

The Durban ICC denies any allegations of corruption or claims of collusion with the ANC concerning the hosting of their events. Picture: Durban ICC

Published Oct 23, 2023


Durban — The Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) has denied any wrongdoing in hosting the KwaZulu-Natal ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) elective conference in August.

This comes after an outcry from political parties and ratepayers since allegations surfaced taxpayers’ money was used to foot the bill. It is alleged the eThekwini Municipality agreed to pay the ICC close to R5 million for expenses incurred by the conference.

Opposition parties in eThekwini have called for an external body to investigate allegations the City committed to carrying the ANCWL’s expenses for its conference.

On Thursday, ActionSA handed a memorandum of demands to the Durban ICC chairperson. ActionSA KZN chairperson Zwakele Mncwango said this after the party and ratepayers’ bodies protested outside the Durban ICC on Thursday.

They were calling for transparency in the matter where they alleged the ICC and the eThekwini Municipality signed a MOU to fully fund the ANCWL’s conference “by coughing up R5 089 781.90 from taxpayer money, which was later invoiced to the municipality at a total of R4 794 824.21”.

The Durban ICC the reports had falsely alleged “various improprieties and cast aspersions on the Durban ICC’s honourable reputation”.

The Durban ICC “emphatically denied” any allegations of corruption or claims of collusion with the ANC concerning the hosting of their events. It also“firmly rejected any claims regarding the existence of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Durban ICC and eThekwini Municipality that purportedly involved the use of public funds to finance the conference. The Durban ICC categorically denies any wrongdoing in this matter”.

Durban ICC CEO Lindiwe Rakharebe said: “Our institution is unwaveringly committed to the principles of good governance, transparency, and accountability. We take immense pride in our long-standing track record of numerous clean audits.

“We strongly refute any false allegations which have been made regarding members of the Durban ICC board.”

Rakharebe said the Durban ICC acknowledged the matter was currently under investigation by the municipality’s City Integrity and Investigations Unit. The entity confirmed it was “co-operating unreservedly with the CIIU's investigation and remains committed to the truth and to upholding the highest standards of ethical conduct”.

“We are confident that the ongoing investigation will confirm our dedication to good governance and the principles of integrity that have been the cornerstone of our institution,” Rakharebe added.

Mncwango said the municipality previously booked the venue for their Women’s Month Launch event, which was scheduled to take place at the Durban ICC, but was replaced with the ANCWL conference, however, the MOU between the ICC and municipality still stood, despite there not being a Women’s Month Launch event hosted by the ICC.

He said that during a Finance Portfolio Committee meeting last Wednesday, ActionSA posed a question to eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda to confirm whether the municipality did in fact sign the MOU. He said Kaunda deflected the question a couple of times, but ultimately “cracked under pressure” and confirmedDeputy City Manager Sipho Cele did sign the MOU between the ICC and the municipality. Realising his mistake, the mayor attempted to back-pedal by statingthe municipality’s event was later cancelled, but that it held no ties to the ANCWL conference.

Mncwango said that in their recommendations, they have called on the ICC to:

– Invoice the ANC an amount of R4 795 824.21

– Ensure the board chairperson and the CEO immediately report this crime to the SAPS within 7 days and open a case of intention to steal public funds.

“In the event of a failure to do so, we have made it clear that we have no intention to back down and will table a motion at the next council meeting to remove the entire board at the ICC, as they have not only failed the ratepayers and residents of eThekwini. but have contravened the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act, section 93H (1) which stipulates:

“The board of directors of a municipal entity must –

  • Provide effective, transparent, accountable and coherent corporate governance and conduct effective oversight of the affairs of the municipal entity.
  • Ensure that it and the municipal entity comply with all applicable legislation and agreements.
  • Communicate openly and promptly with the parent municipality of the municipal entity.
  • And deal with the parent municipality of the municipal entity in good faith.”

Earlier this month, Kaunda said the allegations made about the City paying for the ANCWL conference held at the Durban ICC were “devoid of truth or facts”.

Kaunda challenged the opposition to produce proof to support the allegations, which he described as a “desperate attempt to grab headlines”.

“The municipality does not get involved in the arrangement of logistics and venue hire bookings on behalf of political parties. Public representatives should know better than to peddle gossip,” Kaunda said.

He said even though the Durban ICC was a municipal entity, it had its own management and processes pertaining to venue hire bookings for all types of events.

"In the final quarter (April-June), the Durban ICC hosted 129 events generating R66.3 million. In the past fiscal, the Durban ICC contributed R5.7 billion to the gross domestic product and created 11 103 jobs,” Kaunda said.

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