PORT ELIZABETH - The DA in Nelson Mandela Bay has called for an urgent intervention by minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, Dr. Zweli Mkhize, requesting the metro be placed under administration in terms of Section 154 of the constitution.
At a press conference on Wednesday, DA councillor and federal chairperson Athol Trollip said the metro was being run by a "coalition of corruption" and further highlighted several issues leading to what the DA calls a "systematic collapse" within the municipality.
In addition, Trollip laid fresh criminal charges against mayor Mongameli Bobani and acting city manager Peter Neilson.
Neilson has been the fourth acting city manager in the metro since September last year and according to the DA his appointment was irregular citing the absence of minimum qualifications and competencies.
According to the DA, Neilson also failed to advise council of a resolution that was taken to terminate the mandate of legal firm Gray Moodliar Inc.
Many of the cases handled by the firm involve the institution of claims against metro officials and service providers linked to the beleaguered Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS), known as the city's biggest corruption scandal.
Trollip said the resolution to terminate the firm's mandate was adopted in a manner that could not be implemented by the administration.
"Cllr Mongameli Bobani therefore affected the necessary changes to the minutes of council on the 9th April so that the mandate of the said firm could be terminated."
According to the DA, Nielson did not warn council that millions of rand of wasteful expenditure would be incurred with the termination of the firm's mandate.
Trollip said there was also a conflict of interest in that Bobani was implicated in alleged fraud and corruption within the IPTS project.
According to the DA, Bobani's objective was to throw the law firm off his trail while he influenced Neilson to terminate the firm's mandate "unlawfully".
"[Bobani] should have recused himself from the decision-making but he actually led the decision being taken."
"Mr Neilson simply does what he is told by Bobani and Andile Lungisa," said Trollip.
The DA also raised concerns that the metro would in all likelihood lose its grant funding from National Treasury.
"Capital Expenditure for the financial year as at the 9th of April 2019 was 33.42%. Given the fact that there is only two months left to the end of the financial year it seems impossible that the administration will fully commit all of its conditional grant allocations."
According to Trollip, a reconciliation revealed that R4 million out of a R21 million drain cleaning project cannot be accounted for and double payments were made to at least 10 SMME's.
The project, dubbed the "drain heist" by the DA, followed a spate of alleged assassin-style killings in the city.
"JK Structures and Finecorp 113 were also responsible for the final audit of the project. Their final audit revealed many irregularities with regards to payments made by SMME's and recommended that the matter be further investigated."
The DA called for a full forensic investigation into the project but this was opposed by the majority of ANC councillors led by Bobani.
"Why would you oppose an investigation where R4 million is unaccounted for and 20 people were killed? It appears to be a cover up by the municipality," said Trollip.
Bobani was not immediately available for comment.
African News Agency (ANA)