Nomusa Dube-Ncube

Johannesburg - KwaZulu-Natal Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) on Wednesday, emphasised government's commitment to ensuring a safe and secure environment for the Auditor-General's work.

This comes after the alleged threats made against auditors by unknown individuals at eThekwini municipality in recent days.

"We wish to state categorically that no threats by anyone bent on undermining our democratic institutions will be tolerated by any municipality in KZN. We assure the Auditor-General's office that its teams are free to perform their duties in all municipalities in the province without fear or favour," KZN member of the executive council (MEC) for Cogta Nomusa Dube-Ncube said.

Dube-Ncube said KZN Cogta was responding to the media reports of alleged threats made against the Auditor-General's staff in eThekwini municipality in recent days that led to the temporary withdrawal of auditors from the metro. The eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede has since pledged to increase security for auditors in her municipality.

"We would like to assure all South Africans that no municipality in this province will tolerate any form of interference or threats of violence against any official from any institutions tasked with an oversight mandate. The eThekwini municipality itself is as shocked by this incident as anyone," said Dube-Ncube.

Since the reports surfaced in the public domain in eThekwini, KZN Cogta has dispatched a high-level team of officials to this municipality. The Mayor and the City Manager were out of the country on council business when these threats were allegedly made. On hearing about the incident, both of them cut their trip short to respond to this development immediately.

"As KZN Cogta, we are very concerned about the incorrect impression created by this situation and the reputational damage it has orchestrated to the image of the municipality concerned. At this point, the threats amount to an act of thugs whom we are all united in defeating," said Dube-Ncube.

KZN Cogta has stated categorically that KZN municipalities are no banana republics and in general they act within the law and respect the rule of law and the Constitution as they have done since their inception. Many investigations have been conducted in municipalities, all of them without fear or favour, and this will continue to be done by every institution of government empowered to do so.

"We are appealing to anyone with evidence of wrongdoing in any municipality to bring it forward to any competent institution in all spheres of government for us win the war against corruption," said Dube-Ncube.\

African News Agency/ANA