Calls for probe of costs in­curred in so­cial co­he­sion event can­cel­la­tion

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - SAMKELO MT­SHALI

THE SCRAM­BLE is on to hold some­one ac­count­able for the thou­sands of rand splurged on ho­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion and trans­port for a so­cial co­he­sion event that was can­celled at the last minute by the eThek­wini mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

City man­ager Sipho Nzuza has in­structed deputy city man­ager for emer­gency and com­mu­nity ser­vices Dr Musa Gumede to launch an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the last-minute can­cel­la­tion of the so­cial co­he­sion con­fer­ence.

Speak­ing to In­de­pen­dent Me­dia, Nzuza said Them­binkosi Ng­cobo, head of the parks, recre­ation and cul­ture depart­ment, had gone against his in­struc­tions last week to post­pone the con­fer­ence.

Ng­cobo post­poned the con­fer­ence on Mon­day morn­ing as guest speak­ers, del­e­gates and me­dia rep­re­sen­ta­tives had al­ready as­sem­bled at the Coast­lands Ho­tel in uMh­langa wait­ing for the two-day con­fer­ence to be­gin.

Nzuza said he was baf­fled that Ng­cobo had de­fied the or­der de­spite hav­ing also been told by Gumede and Zama Sokhabase, chair­per­son of the city’s com­mu­nity ser­vices clus­ter, to post­pone it last week.

“But he didn’t do that and that’s why the mayor was sur­prised that the con­fer­ence was go­ing ahead, and I had to say ‘no, we can’t do it as there are ar­range­ments that still need to take place’,” Nzuza said.

He added that he had in­structed Gumede to con­duct an in­ves­ti­ga­tion to find out why Ng­cobo had de­fied their in­struc­tions.

“It’s un­nec­es­sary and it was not even sup­posed to get to this point be­cause he was in­structed last week to ad­vise ev­ery­body and stop what­ever ar­range­ment that was go­ing to take place,” Nzuza said.

Nzuza said Sokhabase had been clear that the com­mit­tee had pre­ferred a dif­fer­ent venue that could ac­com­mo­date more peo­ple which had to be closer to the peo­ple in­stead of a ho­tel.

“The chair­per­son in­formed the head of parks that he had to post­pone it and I, to­gether with Dr Gumede, also told him to resched­ule the con­fer­ence,” said Nzuza.

There are grow­ing calls, in­clud­ing from the DA’s eThek­wini cau­cus leader Zwakele Mncwango, for Nzuza to open an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into how much of the R2.1 mil­lion bud­get al­lo­cated by the city had been used.

Mag­gie Goven­der, chair­per­son of the stand­ing com­mit­tee on pub­lic ac­counts (Scopa), said the com­mit­tee would first have to get re­ports af­ter the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral had au­dited the city’s books.

She said if there had been fruit­less ex­pen­di­ture, they would pick it up through the Depart­ment of Co-op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs (Cogta).

“We over­see the provin­cial depart­ment, so it would be Cogta that would have to ad­dress this. So, as Scopa in the province, we will not di­rectly in­ter­vene in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity at this mo­ment,” Goven­der said.

She added that Scopa had not been aware of the is­sue but that No­musa Dube-Ncube, the MEC for Cogta, would prob­a­bly re­quest the re­port and then it would be given to the com­mit­tee.

“We re­fer to the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on Cogta if the MEC feels that there is some­thing to re­port, and then we would go to the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral if there was some­thing un­to­ward,” Goven­der said.

When con­tacted for com­ment yes­ter­day, Ng­cobo said he had been re­quested not to en­gage the me­dia di­rectly on the mat­ter.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.