Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala is set to act against the province’s director-general, Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize, for being found to have acted unethically in relation to money spent on former president Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.
Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane found Mkhize acted unethically by paying R39.8million to a company which was organising a Nelson Mandela memorial service in 2013.
The company, Carol Bouwer Productions, scored the cash windfall which Mkhwebane, after an investigation by her office, said was “irregular” and should have been reported to the Auditor General.
Mkhwebane also said Mkhize failed to report the deviation, as required by the supply chain management policy of the Mpumalanga Premier’s Office, where she was the DG, before moving to KZN - where she is holding a similar position.
“The premier of the Mpumalanga government must inform the premier of the KZN government of the outcome of my investigation and request him to take the appropriate action against Dr Mkhize within 14 days from the date of this report,” Mkhwebane recommended to Zikalala.
In an interview with Independent Media about the matter on the sidelines of the ongoing KZN cabinet lekgotla, which is taking place in Durban, Zikalala said he would act as recommended, but did not specify the actions he would take or when.
The executive recommendation of the Public Protector (PP), which was officially released on May 24 this year, was also not specific on the action that Zikalala should take against Mkhize, whose term of office expires in 2022.
“We’ve interacted with the office of the public protector and we’ll then be undertaking the implementation of the report,” Zikalala briefly said in response to the question, after previously telling a weekend newspaper that he was still waiting for documents from the PP.
Zikalala, who has spoken against corruption since taking over as premier, also said his administration would investigate the issue of an alleged misappropriation of R220m that was meant to offer drought relief to farmers and communities in the province.
“With regard to the issue of R220m that was lost or went missing, we’ll be investigating that because it has been raised in reports. We haven’t received something that’s tangible, hence we’re following up on it,” said Zikalala.
In some cases, it is alleged that the business people dug boreholes in the Zululand region, left the sites without finishing the work, and went on to claim millions for the shoddy work.
Meanwhile, opening the cabinet lekgotla, which was attended by the province’s new MECs, mayors and senior civil servants from the province down to local municipalities, Zikalala said local government was key to the success of his administration.
He said if the local government sphere failed, it would reflect badly on all of them, and urged all to ensure that it worked for the people.