Cape council endorses findings on Swartz

Published Feb 1, 2007


By Anél Powell

The City of Cape Town has ratified the recommendations of a disciplinary tribunal that found former executive director Mthuthuzeli Swartz guilty on eight counts of poor performance for his role in the controversial multimillion-rand Jewellery City tender.

Swartz has submitted a request for leave to appeal the findings reached earlier last month by Taswell Papier, chair of the tribunal and a partner at Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs.

The city has declined to disclose Papier's recommendations and findings, submitted on Wednesday to council, until the appeal process has been completed, probably within a month.

Papier found Swartz guilty on eight of 13 charges of "failing to perform his duties as a senior manager" during the handling of the Jewellery City tender, a contract that cost the city more than R8-million.

City sources have confirmed that Swartz submitted his appeal request on January 29.

His lawyer, Jerome van der Schyff, said the submission of an appeal was a "simple process" that required only that Swartz hand in his papers.

He had been busy and was therefore not aware if Swartz had submitted these, Van der Schyff said.

Swartz, who allegedly signed the documents approving the payment of R1 200 an hour to a consultant from Johannesburg for managing the Jewellery City project, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Swartz is the first of the executive directors of the Ikhwezi management team, who had been hand-picked by then-city manager Wallace Mgoqi, to have seen the disciplinary process through to completion.

Two executive directors resigned last year before their disciplinary hearings had been concluded.

More information about the tender scandal would be disclosed "in the weeks to come", executive mayor Helen Zille said in her council speech on Wednesday.

She said five of the nine forensic audits launched by the city in the past nine months had been completed.

Four had led to disciplinary action against officials.

In one, further action had not been deemed necessary, while yet another had been taken over by the Scorpions for investigation.

Several complaints had been lodged with the police and the National Prosecuting Authority.

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