Long awaited “Forensic Report” delayed again

Umdoni Municipality, Scottburgh

The long-awaited report on the investigations into certain irregularities at the Umdoni Municipality was not presented to the special council meeting on February 14, although the item was on the agenda.

Opposition councillors and civil society had consistently criticised the KZN Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) for not making the report public.

Mayor Dube told councillors that COGTA had caused the postponement of the special council meeting for the same reasons as had been given before, namely, the non–availability of officials because of “Provincial and Cabinet Legotlas.

Councillor Baptie said that the excuses were consistent with COGTA’s deliberate attempts to hide this report for almost a year. It is noteworthy that this is not the only investigation that COGTA has indicated that it will undertake in Umdoni.

There is also a long-outstanding investigation into a R12 million grant that Umdoni received for the Scottburgh CBD upgrade, for which Umdoni has not yet accounted. In addition, there is the investigation into the R150 million irregular expenditure.

The impact of the undisclosed investigative reports is that councillors are kept in the dark and cannot effectively play their oversight roles in solving problems and changing past bad practices. They suggest that there is a problem in COGTA as well as in Umdoni.

The suspension of former Municipal Manager, Xolani Luthuli, prior to his contract ending, and the continued vacancy of this most critical post in the institution, casts serious doubt on COGTA’s role in bringing stability and good governance to the municipality.

How much longer will the political leadership in Umdoni be seen to be dragging its heels whilst corruption and non-delivery continue.

Cllr Baptie said, “We pray that Umdoni’s ‘Zuma day’ will come soon.”

MSCRS Reporter

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