Ethekwini plumbers give city 7 days to respond to graft allegations
Durban - THE eThekwini Municipality has seven working days to address fraud and corruption allegations in its water and sanitation department or face service disruption in the unit.
More than 100 plumbers and contractors marched to the Durban City Hall yesterday and handed over a memorandum of their grievances to municipal official, Mlu Ntombela.
The memorandum was addressed to mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, copied to water and sanitation head Ednick Msweli and acting city manager, Sipho Cele.
The plumbers demanded the removal of contractors who were implicated in fraud and corruption. This was after the Hawks raided properties belonging to service providers and department employees earlier this month.
“Corruption within senior officials of the various departments, including finance, is part of a syndicate. We are aware that there is an ongoing investigation by the Hawks, and certain contractors have been implicated. We demand that these accused plumbers be removed from the roster until the investigation is complete,” reads the memorandum.
“Who are these plumbers? We know that certain city officials manipulate this roster to suit the corrupt plumbers and officials. We have discovered that deceased plumbers are allocated shifts and are currently paid into fraudulent accounts.
“We want all plumbers to be screened by producing identity documents, company name and registration documents, trade certificate, date tested at the municipality and who was the testing official. We are behind resolving corrupt activities in the city and we are willing to assist in any possible way to achieve that,” it read.
Plumber and company owner Sandile Ndlovu said the administrative head of the city should clean the water and sanitation department of corrupt individuals.
“We have been disadvantaged by those who are connected within the leadership of the city. The recent raids by the Hawks did not clean all the rotten potatoes in that department because some of the corrupt still remain in the system. If the city leadership fails to attend to our grievances within the stipulated seven working days, water and sanitation services will be disrupted.
“We will ensure that they feel our wrath if they disregard these issues.”
Earlier this month, a multi-disciplinary raid, comprising different units from the Hawks, was carried out in various parts of Durban to recover about R700million stolen from Durban’s Water and Sanitation Unit through tender fraud and corruption. Eighteen properties belonging to unit employees were targeted.
At the time, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said various items including a number of laptops, desktops, hard drives, cellphones, bank cards from different banks, company details, invoices and company registration documents had been seized.
Another contractor, who asked not to be named, said: “Some of us have been contracted to the municipality for 15 to 18 years, but new people were brought in and given priority despite them not having gone through the grades.”
Kaunda’s spokesperson, Mluleki Mntungwa, said the contents of the memorandum would be dealt with.
“Only then will we be communicating the mayor’s response to the grievances,” he said.