KwaDukuza mayor plays dumb

Mail & Guardian - - News -

In 2016, KwaDukuza’s Con­cerned Ci­ti­zen’s Group (CCG) made a Pro­mo­tion of Ac­cess to In­for­ma­tion Act ap­pli­ca­tion for doc­u­ments per­tain­ing to the KwaDukuza lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s sale of the Stanger Coun­try Club grounds to Vi­vian Reddy’s Double Ring Trad­ing 7. This was ig­nored by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

In Jan­uary last year, the CCG launched an un­suc­cess­ful ur­gent in­ter­dict against the mall de­vel­op­ment and re­quested more in­for­ma­tion from the mu­nic­i­pal­ity. CCG chair­per­son Ha­roon Ma­hom­edy said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity pro­vided the or­gan­i­sa­tion with “a hun­dred pages of ir­rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion and noth­ing that we re­quested”.

In Septem­ber last year, the CCG launched their re­view ap­pli­ca­tion and again re­quested in­for­ma­tion about the sale. The mu­nic­i­pal­ity did not pro­vide the or­gan­i­sa­tion with doc­u­ments within the re­quired 15 days and, “de­spite sub­se­quent let­ters to their at­tor­neys this has not hap­pened”, said Ma­hom­edy.

Last month, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity was is­sued with a sub­poena for the in­for­ma­tion, which was then with­drawn, and the group is “cur­rently in the process of is­su­ing a fresh no­tice to com­pel them to fur­nish the in­for­ma­tion”, he said.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s re­fusal to hand over the doc­u­ments has stalled the CCG case while the mall con­struc­tion con­tin­ues.

Mayor Ri­cardo Mthembu said peo­ple “need to fol­low the process” when re­quest­ing in­for­ma­tion from the mu­nic­i­pal­ity. When the Mail & Guardian sug­gested that the CCG said the cor­rect process had been fol­lowed — and ig­nored — by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, he main­tained that “pro­cesses” needed to be fol­lowed. He did not elab­o­rate on what “pro­cesses” had not been fol­lowed and said the ques­tion was “too ad­min­is­tra­tive for me. I am a politi­cian.”

Mthembu said he was un­aware of a sub­poena served on the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s man­ager, ac­count­ing of­fi­cer and chief le­gal of­fi­cer on March 20 re­quest­ing in­for­ma­tion that in­cluded the re­view record of Double Ring Trad­ing 7’s ten­der ap­pli­ca­tion, min­utes from the bid spec­i­fi­ca­tion com­mit­tee meet­ings, and ap­provals and com­mu­ni­ca­tions by the ac­count­ing of­fi­cer re­lat­ing to the sale of land.

He said there was noth­ing un­to­ward about the sale of the land and that the project was “cre­at­ing jobs”. —

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