SIU to investigate eThekwini infill housing transfers
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DURBAN - THE Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has launched an investigation into the transfer or sale of vacant properties by developers appointed by the eThekwini Municipality for its Human Settlements Infill Housing Programme.
The investigations are expected to focus on transactions that took place between or prior to October 12, 2012 and April 1, 2021. The investigations relate to allegations of corruption and maladministration, and are an effort to recover any losses suffered by the State.
President Cyril Ramaphosa signed proclamations authorising the SIU to unleash all its legislative powers to subpoena bank statements and cellphone records, search and seize evidence and interrogate witnesses under oath in a quest to hold those responsible to account for their actions.
In a statement issued by the SIU, it stated that the eThekwini Municipality investigation would probe maladministration in the affairs of the council in respect of the alienation by or on behalf of the municipality of immovable property for the provision of housing through the city’s Human Settlements Infill Housing Programme, which alienation was contrary to manuals, policies or practices.
The SIU said the investigation would also focus on the transfer or sale of vacant properties by developers appointed by the municipality for purpose of its housing Programme in breach of the developers’ contractual obligations; and contrary to the objectives of the municipality’s housing programme.
The SIU would also investigate all payments made by the municipality in respect of the allegations stipulated in a manner that is was not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective.
Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said that under his leadership the city would co-operate with institutions responsible for rooting out fraud and corruption including the SIU.
“Our city permanently subscribes to clean governance and will stop at nothing to nip corruption in the bud. If the SIU is investigating us, we welcome the investigation. The city believes that each and every cent of taxpayers’ money must go to service delivery as opposed to other people’s pockets, to the detriment of the well-being of our stakeholders,” Kaunda said.
Martin Meyer, DA spokesperson for human settlements and MPL in KZN, said the party had brought to the city's attention on many occasions the issue surrounding land being given under suspicious circumstances for infill housing.
“There have been horror stories of land allocated to be much-needed parks, being sold at far below market value to some well-known companies for development, and these companies then making huge profits off the land. We welcome this investigation. eThekwini has been brought to the brink of ruin with the rampant corruption that has taken hold. We hope that this investigation will lead, not only to the city's money being recovered, but to those involved being brought to book,” Meyer said.
The IFP had not commented in time for publication.