To clear a backlog of more than 300 outstanding disciplinary cases, eThekwini Municipality has set up a project plan in the hopes of speeding up the processes.

The city has selected a project team to take action against more than 300 municipal employees involved in fraud and corruption.

The cases involved employees who were said to be responsible for fraudulent and wasteful expenditure which has resulted in penalties raised against the municipality because of late payments which amounted to millions of rand.

According to a report that was approved by the full council last week, the project team will submit bi-monthly reports to the executive committee. It was expected to develop a close-out report with the suitable recommendation by June next year.

The project team would include the city manager, unions and heads of departments.

The report also stated that there would be a cost associated with appointing external persons to carry out the function for cases involving senior managers and financial provisions have been made.

However, it was not indicated how much funding the city had budgeted for the project.

Thabane Luthuli, chairperson for Municipal Public Account Committee (Mpac), while delivering his annual report, said the lack of accountability in the municipality was the reason why irregular expenditure to the value of R634 million was reported by the Internal Control and Business System in the previous financial year.

The committee believed that a clean audit in 2020 might only be achievable through the actual implementation of consequence management.

“Giving officials who do not comply with procedures and processes a simple slap on the wrist for their actions is not justified.

“The committee has expressed serious concern in this regard and has raised this issue with the city manager.

"Disciplinary processes arising from fraudulent or non-compliant actions by officials are investigated by the City Integrity and Investigation Unit. However, these cases are lengthy, placing a further financial burden to the municipality.

"As Mpac, we believe consequence management will circumvent corruption and maladministration as well as enhance good governance,” he said.

Sunday Tribune