Hawks raids come amid eThekwini mayor's 'consequence management'
A raid on the homes of 18 eThekwini municipality staff allegedly linked to a R700m corruption investigation preceded a report-back session by mayor Mxolisi Kaunda on Tuesday. In the report-back he emphasised the importance of good governance and a consequence management plan to actively promote a culture of accountability throughout the municipality.
Tuesday marked a year since he was appointed after the departure of Zandile Gumede, and he reflected on the progress his administration is making to turn around the city.
“From the outset, we must indicate that while we have not turned the corner in addressing the challenges facing the city, we are making great progress.
“When the ANC deployed us into this municipality, it outlined one of the key priorities as stabilising the city and repositioning it to respond better to challenges of service delivery, economic growth and job creation,” Kaunda said.
A serious lack of consequence management resulted in irregular expenditure of R2.34bn in the metro in the past financial year ending June 2019 — more than double the amount in the previous financial year.
“We have convened a workshop with senior management and developed practical plans to address irregular expenditure,” said Kaunda.
The plan includes early warning systems to detect irregular expenditure, applying consequence management on officials implicated in wrongdoing, and weekly meetings with senior managers to assess the progress in implementing the plan.
The mayor said the plan included reducing over-reliance on consultants, developing a solid and credible contract management system, the appointment of supply chain management specialists in all line function departments, and city leadership receiving monthly reports on violations and taking action.
“We have made it clear to the officials that non-adherence to the principles of accountability and clean governance will not be tolerated,” Kaunda said.
He raised concern about “some officials having seen an opportunity to mismanage our Covid-19 relief funds by inflating prices against Treasury regulations”.
“As the leadership of the municipality, we have ordered an audit of all Covid-19 expenditure to determine the level of corruption. We will support all the work by our law enforcement agencies to uncover any wrongdoing, and we want all those implicated by the report to face the full might of the law.
“We warned our officials against squandering the Covid-19 relief funds” Kaunda said.
He said the city also making progress in reducing the backlog in disciplinary cases arising out of investigations and reports by the city’s integrity and investigations unit.
“When we assumed office, we instructed officials to develop a project plan with clear time frames to reduce this backlog. The plan, approved by the council on October 31 last year, has seen the city reduce the case backlog from 333 to 164. The categories of misconduct range from conflict of interest, fraud and corruption and irregular expenditure to procurement irregularities,” said Kaunda.
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