Names behind Makana fiasco

Forensic inquiry results never tabled.

SENIOR ANC leaders, councillors and officials with links to an ANC mayor have been named in a damning forensic report on the chaotic state of Makana municipality.

The 89-page Kabuso report implicates mayor Zamuxolo Peter’s strategic advisor Mncedi Boma in the mess, along with the mayor’s personal secretary Noluthando Santi, his former landlord Emmanuel Madlavu, council speaker Rachel Madinda and acting chief financial officer Marius Crouse.

Boma also chairs the ANC’s Makana sub-region. The report found that:

  • Crouse authorised payment of R108374 for legal costs incurred during a settlement between the then municipal manager Pravine Naidoo and the municipality without council approval. He was also found to have authorised eight letters of appointment days before the municipal manager approved recommendations of interviewing panels;

  • Boma accepted a fraudulent increase of more than R196613 in salary benefits between September 2012 and January 2014. He was also found to have caused the municipality to incur the irregular expenditure of R108374 when he issued a memorandum to Crouse instructing him to pay the legal costs incurred over Naidoo;
    • Madinda flouted municipal processes when she signed the settlement agreement with Naidoo on behalf of council although she had no delegated powers to do so. She was also found to have processed an irregular payment to Santi of R40909 as an acting allowance as her office manager. This was despite there being no such position.
    • The troubled municipality shocked many last year when it advertised several posts despite council being divided over its staff organogram.

      The report, commissioned by council and finalised in May, uncovered gross irregularities during this recruitment drive which may lead to millions worth of litigation. Madlavu – who was appointed director of infrastructure despite a report to council by the State Security Agency (SSA) revealing that he had three criminal cases against his name and a drunk driving case – is being held liable for the process followed when the posts were being filled.

      A former employee of the arts and recreation department, he was dismissed in 2010 by then minister Lulu Xingwana for misconduct and corruption. The Dispatch revealed at the time that he was the mayor’s landlord, which suggested a possible conflict of interest as directors are council employees.

      Peter denied this but months later relocated from Madlavu’s Cradock Road house into a council home nearby.

      The report said Madlavu should provide a written explanation on why he should not be charged for not developing job descriptions for the advertised posts when he was acting city manager, and why he did not confirm budget availability for the posts.

      The recruitment drive saw processes flouted in 22 cases.

      The report states that these appointments could result in the municipality being held liable for backpay or having to recover costs from overpaid employees. Local government provincial head Stanley Khanyile said they had received a copy of the Kabuso report only on Friday after Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Pravin Gordhan visited Makana.

      Khanyile said going through the report was a priority, and they would also conduct their own forensic investigation if needed.

      “There is no way we will just leave it, we cannot do that,” he added.

      Kabuso director Roland Pillay declined to comment.

      Mayor Peter and speaker Madinda referred all enquiries to acting municipal manager Themba Mnguni.

      Peter said: “All I know is that people are saying there is a report but I have yet to receive it officially.

      “I am aware that people close to my office are implicated in it, but I will only be able to comment once it has been tabled and council has scrutinised it. For now it remains hearsay.”

      Boma said he would “love” to see the report.

      “No one has ever come to me to ask me any questions, not even seeking clarity. I'm still waiting for that report and the investigators to get my side of the story.”

      Gordhan’s chief of staff, Dumisa Jele, said they had asked for a copy of the report during the visit to Grahamstown last week.

      But according to protocol Jele said a copy should be sent to the provincial government first. Jele said Gordhan was expecting the report “soon”.

      The Dispatch has learnt that Democratic Alliance MP Andrew Whitfield and the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM) made separate Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia) applications late on Monday to try and get hold of a copy of the report.

      Whitfield said the fact the report was never tabled raised serious suspicions about its content, recommendations and the political will by the ANC leadership to deal with its findings.

      Whitfield said he would also ask Gordhan in parliament this week to conduct an independent forensic examination of alleged maladministration, fraud and corruption in the municipality.

      “Once the audit report is made public, the DA will consider laying criminal charges against any officials and politicians that are implicated,” Whitfield added. — zineg@dispatch.co.za

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