Ethekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda tells municipality managers to act against corrupt officials
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DURBAN - ETHEKWINI mayor Mxolisi Kaunda wants senior managers to be the first ones charged and disciplined if they fail to act on allegations of fraud and corruption in their departments.
To ensure that people accused of fraud in the municipality are disciplined, he said, the city must take action against the people who are supposed to discipline those who are committing fraud.
He also called for city management to pursue those involved in alleged crimes while working for the municipality, even after they have left the municipality.
His comments came after the Audit Committee highlighted concerns that disciplinary processes against those accused of corruption often took years and some of those implicated changed jobs or died before the cases were finalised.
The committee was concerned that a report on cases which was compiled by the City Integrity and Investigations Unit (CIIU), showed that while there were several fraud-related cases, only one person was dismissed, and others found guilty of fraud were given written warnings.
It said in three cases the CIIU had concluded that there were acts of fraud and corruption, but the labour relations process had found no wrongdoing on the part of the employees.
It said to address these shortcomings, the CIIU should work with labour relations before cases were finalised in order to assess the probabilities of success.
Former head of parks,Thembinkosi Ngcobo was recently disciplined and fired for not acting on alleged acts of corruption in his department. He has since taken the municipality to court to challenge his dismissal.
Kaunda said: “If senior managers fail to take action, start with them, to send the message down that we are taking action against people who are doing wrong.”
Kaunda said if the implicated person joined another government unit, the municipality must engage that department to charge that official on the municipality’s behalf. If they are in the private sector, the municipality must open a criminal case and begin civil proceedings against them.
“Your things (crimes) must follow you,” said Kaunda, in reference to officials who are implicated in wrongdoing but get away with it by simply changing jobs.
DA councillor Nicole Graham said it was unacceptable that it took years for cases to be completed.
Acting city manager Musa Mbhele said they had dealt with about 75% of the cases of alleged wrongdoing in the municipality.
“One of the things we are doing in beginning to inculcate that culture of consequence management, is that in cases where the offence is clear, minor and does not require any forensic investigation, we are encouraging the (line) manager to deal with that, so we do not push everything to CIIU and clog up the system,” he said.