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Treasury calls for opening of a case against Joburg MMC Mbundu

Joburg MMC for Economic Development Nkululeko Mbundu.

Joburg MMC for Economic Development Nkululeko Mbundu.

Published Jun 19, 2022

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Johannesburg - The National Treasury has told the City of Johannesburg to open a criminal case against Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Economic Development Nkululeko Mbundu.

This comes after a complaint was sent to the Treasury over Mbundu’s alleged interference in the procurement process of service providers.

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In a letter dated June 3 to Sipho Mzobe, the Acting Chief Financial Officer of the Johannesburg Property Company, an entity under Mbundu’s portfolio, the Treasury said the accounting officer is responsible for the implementation of the municipal entity’s supply chain management policy, as such Supply Chain Management does not fall within the mandate of the MMC and there is no legislative framework that permits the MMC to evaluate prices or interfere in the procurement processes.

The letter from Basani Duiker, Chief Director: Governance, Monitoring and Compliance was in response to complaints about Mbundu’s conduct in the procurement and tender processes and the appointment of service providers for the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication.

A meeting recording shows Mbundu instructing members of the JPC to start the process of appointing service providers and calling for the inclusion of others who were not initially shortlisted.

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Duiker said in terms of section 117 of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA), no councillor of any municipality may be a member of a municipal bid committee or any other committee evaluating or approving tenders, quotations, contracts, or other bids, nor attend any such meeting as an observer.

“Moreover, in terms of section 118 of the MFMA, no person may interfere with the supply chain management system of a municipality and/or municipal entity. The CFO has confirmed to the National Treasury in the meeting and with annexures to the letter of evidence corroborating the allegations. Based on the above information, the National Treasury is of the view that there were material irregularities in the supply chain processes and therefore JPC may request the Accounting Officer to cancel the procurement process,” Duiker said.

“We further advise that the parent municipality must also address this matter in line with Chapter 15 of the MFMA read together with Chapter 3 of the Municipal Regulations for Financial Misconduct Procedures and Criminal Proceedings. This includes opening a criminal case with the relevant authorities against the implicated councillor,” Duiker added.

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On Wednesday, Mbundu wrote to the Speaker of Council, Vasco da Gama, to make his formal submission of the allegations levelled against him. His spokesperson, Mmatshepo Chiloane-Oganne, said the comprehensive 32-page report sought to inform Da Gama “on the facts relating to the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication and the MMC’s role and legislative authority”.

“Out of respect for this process and to allow the Speaker to acquaint himself with the facts, we will not be making any further public comments at this stage in accordance with what is in the best interests of the residents of Johannesburg,” said Chiloane-Oganne.

Mbundu has been under fire for some months. Sources have indicated that he has lost the support of many of the entities within his portfolio. They said this was due to allegations of interference. He is further accused of trying to secure plush top jobs for his friends, and influence procurement processes for their benefit.

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His party, ActionSA, has come out in his defence and expressed its complete confidence in him. In a statement, the party’s Joburg Caucus Chief Whip, Marcel Coutriers, said after careful consideration of the essence of the allegations levelled against Mbundu, they did not believe that his actions amounted to interference or infringement of any set of regulations.

“As a political head of the economic development department, Cllr Mbundu must take steps to crack down on corruption and avoid fruitless and wasteful expenditure for the City. It is a concern in our municipality and others throughout Gauteng, as per the recently released Auditor-General’s Report, that corruption further takes away from the limited resources meant to improve the lives of our residents. This must stop,” Coutriers said.

The ANC is one of the organisations that have complained about Mbundu’s conduct. The other was the Al Jama-ah Party, which wrote a letter to the Mayor of Johannesburg, Mpho Phalatse, asking her to suspend Mbundu following allegations that he had accepted a bribe from an unidentified individual and later returned half of the money when he realised his mistake.

Coutriers has accused the ANC of playing politics instead of aiding in rebuilding the City.

“Instead, find it a better use of their time to embark on a political witch-hunt aimed at hindering MMC Mbundu’s efforts. We stand firm that processes currently underway in the Speaker’s Office will exonerate the MMC,” said Coutriers.

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