Municipal boss trumps graft claims
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DURBAN - THE Ndwedwe Local Municipality’s manager has cleared the air following allegations of corruption and an “unprotected” workers strike demanding his removal.
Workers at the municipality embarked on a strike last month, accusing Musawenkosi Hadebe of maladministration, fraud and corruption.
Hadebe reported on Tuesday that while some of the workers who had been suspended were back at work, 13 workers were still suspended pending further investigations into the failure to follow procedure for the strike.
Hadebe said the strike was rendered “unprotected and in contravention of the relevant statute” as they had not raised “new dispute matters in the local labour forum”.
“The employer respects the rights of the employees to strike, however, compliance with the law will protect that right and non-compliance will subject the right to limitation,” said Hadebe.
The auditor-general’s report on Ndwedwe Municipality for the 2019/20 financial year found no wrong doing on the part of the public officials at the municipality. Attached to this was a lifestyle audit conducted on Hadebe, of which no suspicious activity was also found.
The A-G’s report also noted the reduction of irregular expenditure from R30.94 million in the 2018/19 financial year to R2.34m in the 2020/21 financial year.
“The root cause of the lack of effective prevention and detection were due to poor contract management,” read the report.
“The A-G report confirmed the ever-strengthening financial viability of the Ndwedwe local municipality which currently has more than 12 months cash coverage, irrespective of being a grant dependent municipality,” said Hadebe.
Further, Hadebe said that the senior official whom he had suspected of trying to change the municipality’s supply chain management policy on awarding of contracts was still employed at the municipality, but that the matter had been reported to the council.
The Sunday Tribune previously reported that Hadebe had lodged an urgent application in the Durban High Court to interdict the council’s decision to implement the new supply chain management resolution following the senior official’s recommendation, which would have authorised the awarding of three multimillion-rand contracts to three service providers days before Christmas last year.
Hadebe said his court action was justified because he was duty-bound to act “in the best interests of the municipality” and prevent “irregular expenditure and economic harm”.
“All the allegations made by the SA Municipal Workers’ Union against the municipal manager and council have answers in the audit reports of three consecutive years, council minutes, investigation reports, annual financial statement including the financial records of the municipality,” he said.
Ndwedwe mayor, Nkosinathi Chili said the municipality had dealt with some of the issues the workers raised.
“We are calling for unity for all of us to return the decorum of this municipality,” said Chili.