eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda calls for municipal officials to be taken to task for failure to adhere to procurement rules. Picture: SUPPLIED
eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda calls for municipal officials to be taken to task for failure to adhere to procurement rules. Picture: SUPPLIED

Durban mayor calls for officials to be taken to task over service delivery

By Thabo Makwakwa Time of article published May 12, 2021

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DURBAN - THE eThekwini Municipality mayor and executive committee (exco) chairperson Mxolisi Kaunda questioned the reasons behind the city’s delay in implementing programmes to ensure fast service delivery.

Kaunda called for acting municipal manager Sipho Cele to take action against city officials, saying heads must roll.

During exco’s audit matters workshop on Tuesday, which dealt with the response to the Audit Committee for the reporting period ended September 30, 2020, Kaunda said under-performing city officials must be taken to task. He said the although the report was a better outcome, more needed to be done.

The workshop came as a result of the previous exco proposal for officials to explain themselves after the audit report for the 2020/2021 period indicated that some officials were not implementing the recommendations of the auditor-general.

Kaunda also reprimanded officials who delayed the signing of contracts. He said it was worrying that some senior officials were not working together to ensure services were delivered.

Kaunda instructed Cele to take action against those not adhering to the laws, saying those contributing to wasteful expenditure and related irregularities must answer.

“Clean audit reports are required and that means more should be done to ensure that the city stands as one of the great examples of clean governance.

“We encourage members of exco and all officials to improve their work and implement recommendations of the auditor-general,” said Kaunda.

The mayor said that the municipality had done well to reduce traffic congestion in many areas around the city, however, more needed to be done to ensure there would be no congestion.

He called on officials to speed up plans so the municipality remained as clean as possible.

Speaking on the absence of some officials from the municipality’s water department, Kaunda reprimanded Cele for being lenient on them not being present to provide responses to members of council and the public who needed answers.

Reporting on fraud risk assessment, the municipality’s chief risk officer, Phumelele Madlala, said the Audit Committee had identified billing fraud as one of the highest risks the municipality was exposed to and that it was attending to the matter.

“We have also identified risks in procurement fraud where procurement laws are not followed. Payment fraud is also likely to happen, in that processes are manipulated. Other risk areas we have identified and are working hard to address are overtime fraud, recruitment fraud, property fraud and payroll fraud.”

Madlala added that although the city’s intentions on projects carried out may be good, there was a likelihood of people manipulating projects, resulting in delays in finishing projects.

Information technology fraud was also identified as one of the risks in the municipality, as criminals may break into its systems, stealing sensitive information and defrauding the city.

Responding to the issue of bank and cash management, the city acknowledged challenges like the lack of formal documented process for RMS journals, lack of source documentation to validate the journal entries processed, and no evidence to validate, review and give approval of the journal. The city provided a time frame to review and update by end of May.

DA and exco member Thabani Mthethwa welcomed the workshop but said issues have existed for years and should have been dealt with long ago.

“No one is held accountable and people should be disciplined for failing to implement necessary programmes to deal with issues of service delivery in the city,” said Mthethwa.

The IFP’s Mdu Nkosi felt the workshop was necessary to have officials account for their actions, because the municipal budget was meant to service eThekwini residents and therefore officials must ensure that people receive the services they deserve.

“We are happy that similar workshops will continue so that we hold people accountable. We cannot be dealing with the same challenges all the time. We welcome the mayor’s commitment to ensure the workshops continue.”

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