Heads could roll in City

National Par­lia­ment probes elec­tric­ity deal

The Witness - - FRONT PAGE - KAILENE PIL­LAY and CLIVE NDOU • k ai­lene.pil­lay@wit­ness.co.za

HEADS could roll in the trou­bled Msun­duzi Mu­nicip al­ity as national Par­lia­ment cracks the whip over al­leged ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture at the mu­nicip al­ity.

With al­le­ga­tions of ram­pant cor­rup­tion at the mu­nicip al­ity con­tin­u­ing to make national head­line s, the National Assem­bly’s pub­lic works port­fo­lio com­mit­tee has fi­nally in­ter­vened and de­lib­er­a­tions o ver the mu­nic­i­pal­ity s tarted yes­ter­day.

MPs at the com­mit­tee meet­ing f ocused on the ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties re­lat­ing to the con­tract be­tween the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and the In­de­pen­dent De vel­op­ment Trust (IDT) that saw the coun­cil not get­ting any value on the mil­lions of rands it trans­ferred to IDT for the roll­out of in­fras­truc­ture projects.

The com­mit­tee’s chair­per­son, Fred­die Adams, said y es­ter­day’s de­liber ations were proof MPs viewed al­le­ga­tions of mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion at Msun­duzi in a se­ri­ous light.

Adams said MP s were “deeply con­cerned” about the man­ner in which state re­sources were be­ing used in Msun­duzi.

Speak­ing to The Wit­ness from Cape Town yes­ter­day, Adams said the c om­mit­tee felt there has not been any “value for money” in many of the projects car­ried out at the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“To­day’s meet­ing with the IDT is just the be­gin­ning of the com­mit­tee’s quest to get to the bot­tom of the ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture at the mu­nic­i­pal­ity,” Adams said.

He said the com­mit­tee was now wait­ing for a re­port from Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma who en­listed the ser­vices of the Spe­cial In­ves­ti­gat­ing Unit (SIU) “that would help to hold those re­spon­si­ble to ac­count”.

The IDT pre­sented a re­port to the com­mit­tee high­light­ing the ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties they found in their agree­ment with the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

IDT was ap­pointed in 2011 as an im­ple­ment­ing agent for the Elec­tric­ity In­fras­truc­ture Pro­gramme, but came un­der the spot­light in 2015 when R100 mil­lion al­legedly linked to the com­pany was re­ported “miss­ing” by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

At that time, in one of the Msun­duzi Exco meet­ings, IDT out­lined elec­tric­ity sup­ply chal­lenges faced by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

In the 2012/201 3 fi­nan­cial y ear the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had en­tered into a mem­o­ran­dum of agree­ment with IDT that ap­pointed the IDT as fund­ing co­or­di­na­tor sand as an im­ple­ment­ing agent of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s elec­tric­ity sup­ply and main­te­nance pro­gramme.

The scope of work in­cluded, but was not lim­ited to, main­te­nance and new in­stal­la­tions, re­fur­bish­ment of age­ing in­fras­truc­ture, street light­ing, house­hold elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, so­lar pow­ered street light­ing and traf­fic lights.

In an ar­ti­cle in The Wit­ness in 2015 it was al­leged that IDT did not pay con­trac­tors who car­ried out the work and IDT then be­came the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’ s debtor af­ter ap­par­ently fail­ing to pay back mil­lions to the Msun­duzi Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity there­after paid the con­trac­tors, but pay­ments from IDT re­mained hang­ing .

How­ever, in the pre­sen­ta­tion to the national com­mit­tee yes­ter­day, the IDT re­ported they had so­licited the ser­vices of the National Trea­sury Au­dit In­ves­ti­gat­ing Unit to con­duct a foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mat­ter.

The IDT said they were ex­pect­ing a re­port from the National Trea­sury soon and will de­cide on ac­tion to be taken.

Chair­per­son Adams said they are now await­ing the find­ings from the SIU in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­fore pro­ceed­ing with their probe.

The DA deputy leader for KwaZu­luNatal Mer­gan Chetty said this was only the “tip of the ice berg ”.

“The man­ner in which the ANC squan­ders money in Msun­duzi has al­ways been our con­cern. We are also con­cerned that these monies wasted did not reach those who were most de serv­ing, while cadres lined their pock­ets,” Chetty said.

He added that proper pro­cure­ment pro­cesses ap­peared not to have been fol­lowed. The DA was pleased that the national com­mit­tee was look­ing into the al­leged mis­man­age­ment of Msun­duzi.

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