KZN municipal manager allegedly misused nearly R20 million
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DURBAN - UMNGENI municipal manager Thembeka Cibane’s future hangs in the balance after a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report recommended that criminal charges and disciplinary action be brought against her after she allegedly squandered nearly R20 million.
In a 98-page report, Cibane was directly held responsible for the irregular expenditure the municipality incurred. The report found that she had irregularly processed the utilisation of R19 950 000 for Covid-19 alleviation projects.
According to the report, in June 2020 the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) had asked all municipalities to draft a plan for the reprioritisation of the portion of their budgets for Covid19 alleviation projects, and submit it.
The SIU report said the municipal manager, in terms of the law, was supposed to table her plan before the council for approval before sending it to Cogta. Cibane did not do so. The report also said she misled Cogta by submitting council resolutions, whereas no council meeting had taken place which Cogta relied on to approve the use of funds.
uMngeni Local Municipality is an administrative area in the uMgungundlovu District of KwaZulu-Natal.
“As part of its investigation in line with its duty to ensure lawful and proper governance at uMngeni Local Municipality, the SIU brings to your attention that municipal manager Thandeka Cibane may be guilty of misconduct. At all relevant times she owed a duty of care to the municipality to perform official duties in a professional and competent manner, and in compliance with statutory or other prescripts in terms of the Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Regulations,” read the report to the mayor.
It further said that while performing her duties she was subject to the relevant Code of Conduct for Municipal Staff Members as set out in the Municipal Systems Act of 32 of 2000 and Supply Chains Management policy.
“In our respectful view she failed to comply with Clauses 2 (a) and (b) of the Code of Conduct for Municipal Staff Members as set out in Schedule 2 in the Municipal Systems Act,” read the report.
Further, the report said the municipal manager had failed to fulfil her fiduciary responsibilities in terms of section 61 of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) 56 of 2003.
“Having established that the conduct of Cibane constitute fraud and statutory offences in terms of the MFMA as set out above, the SIU has accordingly referred the matter to the National Prosecuting Authority for prosecution.”
An ANC councillor, who declined to be named, told the Daily News on Sunday that the council meeting this week had failed to take a resolution to suspend Cibane because there were ANC councillors who had allegedly protected her. He said those councillors were suspected to have benefited from her alleged corruption.
Cibane told the Daily News on Sunday that she was unaware of an SIU report that implicated her in any wrongdoing.
Cogta spokesperson Senzo Mzila said the department would only comment if the SIU suggested that the MEC must intervene. He said the SIU usually directed the councils or mayor to implement its findings, although it also sent copies of the reports to Cogta.