Yesterday, the City announced that employees implicated in corruption, worth about R12million, have been fired.
The employees, from the department of economic development, group legal, finance, as well as environment and infrastructure services, were implicated in corruption involving procurement during the 2016 Cites COP17 event held in the city.
Nic Botha, strategic adviser in the office of the MMC for economic development, said the employees were fired after a long disciplinary hearing.
The 2016 Cites COP17 event was meant to review proposals to increase or decrease controls on international trade in wildlife and wildlife products, and affected, among other species, African elephants, white rhinos, lions, pangolins, silky and thresher sharks, devil rays, as well as many species of rosewood, crocodiles, birds, frogs, lizards and turtles.
Botha said: “Their dismissal follows a lengthy disciplinary process which revealed that the R54m budget to fund a 2016 event COP17, which is a world wildlife conference that seeks to combat illegal trade in animals and fauna, had resulted in actual spending of close to R66m.”
Botha said the City found that the employees had made unjustifiable payments to a service provider. He added that the City was not ready to disclose the employees involved and the implicated company.
“It was found that various unjustified and unauthorised additional payments were made to the service provider, above and beyond the R54m. The current multiparty administration in the City has zero tolerance of corruption and the abuse of ratepayers’ money,” he said.
Botha said the City would pursue criminal charges against the employees to try to recoup the money.
He said the City would report the implicated company to the National Treasury so they could be blacklisted.
“The employees will also be reported to the Department of Public Service and Administration so they never work for government again,” Botha said.
He added that they would intensify their fight against corruption.
“The City will continue to act against corruption, and continue to dismiss employees who violate the trust and responsibility bestowed upon them, to uphold good governance and serve residents with honesty and dedication,” Botha said.