DA in uMngeni calls for an external investigation into ‘catastrophic’ Covid-19 expenditure

Issued by Cllr. Hazel Lake – DA UMngeni Councillor
17 Sep 2020 in Press Statements

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in uMngeni local municipality today calls on the Municipal Manager, Thembeka Cibane, to immediately launch an external investigation into the R12 million irregular Covid-19 expenditure.

The call comes after the release of an internal investigation report to the uMngeni Municipal Public Accounts Committee into Covid-19 expenditure. An external investigation will ensure that there is no interference and those that are found responsible are brought to book.

The Internal Auditor has rated all but one of the eleven components audited as “catastrophic”, indicating “a controls deficiency, which requires immediate management intervention as continuous or non-existence measures to address the deficiency or the risk exposure has the potential to have an extreme impact and will result in major unfavourable consequences including substantial material financial loss”.

The type of procurement transgressions include:

  • A service provider charging a significantly higher amount for the municipality as compared to another potential buyer. A request for a quotation was sent to the same service provider requesting services and a lower price was quoted for a private company than what was charged the municipality;
  • In many instances, only one price was obtained with no reasons as to why a specific service provider was chosen and what criteria was used to establish the fairness or market value or reasonableness of the price accepted for emergency services or goods procured;
  • Service providers being appointed after the date of invoice;
  • Confirmation of delivery of service could not be determined by auditors;
  • No appointment letter or agreement signed by the accounting officer for MFMA SCM regulation 36;
  • A large portion of the expenditure was procured outside of the district, which is against National Treasury circular 102; and
  • The KZN Provincial Treasury was not notified to assess correct implementation of Regulation 32.

These findings are indeed “catastrophic” and point to an almost total disregard for regulations and legitimate procurement practices. The DA in uMngeni has long been asking for comprehensive supply chain management reports, in order to ensure corruption cannot find opportunities to flourish. In a municipality that is always unable to provide adequate service delivery due to cash restraints, this sudden and excessive spending under cover of Covid-19 disaster regulations, raises serious questions.

This report is another indication that the uMngeni Municipal Manager is unfit to hold office. We will continue our ongoing campaign against the Municipal Manager. Through relentless pressure the DA successfully campaign to have the disastrous uMngeni speaker removed.

On Wednesday President Ramaphosa again promised to root out Covid-19 corruption. The Democratic Alliance in uMngeni municipality backs the presidents’ calls and demands that the uMngeni Covid-19 expenditure be investigated .

The DA will be asking for a full report to council and decisive consequences for officials or politicians who might be plundering the public purse.