UPDATE: Senior heads on the block at municipality

Disgruntled KwaDukuza municipal staff have called for the immediate removal of corrupt officials and even shouted their demands outside the council chamber recently.

This comes after it was discovered in September that two contracts costing KDM R1.8 million were both signed off for the same printing service while the municipal manager, Nhlanhla Mdakane, was on leave.

Three senior officials are being investigated for their involvement in the suspected fraud.

In March this year, the municipality appointed a new printing company to supply in-house printers and service machines.

Along with the new agreement, another three-year contract for the same service was signed while Mdakane was sick for five weeks.

Also read: KDM investigates printer fraud

The irregular contract was apparently slipped into a pile of papers sent for signing which saw printing costs escalate from R30 000 to R300 000 for six months.

Should the transaction have continued for the three-year term, it would have cost the municipality about R10 million. A KDM source who asked to remain anonymous said the municipal manager had ordered investigations into a number of issues he suspected to have gone wrong during his absence.

“The investigation into the printing issue started about two months ago. It was tabled at council two weeks ago where the municipal manager announced that the initial probe into the matter revealed that there are three senior officials implicated. No names were mentioned.

“Seeing as they are senior, the council was told there is a procedure to be followed before they are suspended or fired. The forensic investigation first has to prove that they were definitely involved and how they will be dealt with according to municipal procedure.

“Some of the council did not respond well to this and called for them to be removed immediately, as the procedures are being seen as merely a delaying tactic.

“Those aware of the issue were asked to not speak of it outside the council chambers and initially, members were made to sign confidentially agreements.”

DA chief whip in Ilembe, Malcolm Huber said they were outraged by the revelation.

“It is shocking to think that public funds could go missing and that internal staff could be implicated. We are waiting for the full forensic report to be tabled at the council where we can make sure we hold those involved fully accountable.”

KDM is believed to be facing many financial difficulties due to reckless spending.

The municipality is believed to be using its reserves to fund projects instead of the grants allocated by the province and is scrambling to get its finances in order.

KwaDukuza mayor Ricardo Mthembu told the Courier that the forensic report would be made available in 30 days.

KDM has not replied to further questions on the investigations and finances.

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  AUTHOR
Erica Abrahams
Journalist

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