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eThekwini Municipality recovers R12m from unscrupulous service providers

File picture: Independent Media

File picture: Independent Media

Published Jun 23, 2022

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Durban - Efforts to combat corruption in the eThekwini Municipality are bearing fruit, with millions of rand having been recovered from contractors who had benefited illegally from fraudulent payments.

This was said by mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, who said the city had recovered close to R12 million from service providers.

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Opposition parties praised the municipality for its actions, calling it a step in the right direction, but cautioned that the city needed to do more when it came to combating corruption and wrongdoing.

Kaunda said recently: “As part of dealing with the cancer of corruption, we made a commitment to recoup from culprits funds gained through malfeasance. We are pleased to report that the municipality, through the City’s Integrity and Investigations Unit, has been able to recover close to R12m in fraudulent payments from service providers.”

He said the efforts to run a clean administration continued to be recognised by independent institutions, including the auditor-general (A-G).

“We believe that every cent of taxpayers’ money must go towards service delivery to improve the well-being of our residents. All of us here have a responsibility to ensure that this scourge (of corruption) is eliminated.

“We are also making strides in ensuring that we hold our officials accountable by improving our consequence management processes,” said Kaunda.

He said that from 2019, they had reduced the disciplinary case backlog from 334 to 57. He also wanted to acknowledge employees “who go the extra mile in executing their duties”.

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“In this regard, we will continue to host our Customer Care Awards in recognition of employees who provide quality services to the public. Plans are also in place to host the Mayoral Excellence Awards to honour excellent performance among our employees.”

Kaunda said that last year, they had committed themselves to address the concerns that had been raised by the A-G, particularly the issue of irregular expenditure.

“We are pleased that through the Integrated Clean Administration Strategy, we have been able to reduce irregular expenditure to below 50%.

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“This augurs well for us to achieve a clean audit. It is also encouraging that even the Global Credit Rating Agency’s report showed faith in the financial affairs of our municipality. In August last year, it gave our city AA+ status – meaning that the municipality is of a very high credit quality and our financial controls remain strong,” he said.

ActionSA councillor Busi Radebe said there was a lot of rot in the city and the amount recovered was not enough.

“The money they are talking about having recovered is a drop in the ocean. We have a budget of around R55 billion now and we know the city’s supply chain unit is very problematic,” she said.

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DA councillor Thabani Mthethwa said such action was welcomed.

“That is something that we have always pushed for, that funds lost through fraudulent means should be recouped as well as the money that is paid to contractors who do not finish the job. There have been instances where contractors would be appointed, get paid and then just abandon the site with the work incomplete, the city must pursue those people,” he said.

THE MERCURY

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