MNQUMA municipality has come under fire for appointing a municipal manager who is under investigation for dodgy dealings.
Former Ntabankulu municipal boss Sindile Tantsi is the subject of a corruption investigation by the Hawks, and if found guilty he could be barred from being employed in local government for 10 years.
Despite this, Tantsi was hired by Mnquma as its accounting officer.
A “strictly confidential” Hawks document, seen by the Daily Dispatch, states that a preliminary investigation into corruption was first initiated in December 2012 by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations , an anti-corruption unit in Pretoria.
This “emanated from a whistle-blowing effort that there were gross and serious allegations of financial mismanagement, fraud and corruption at Ntabankulu”.
The report said the Ntabankulu munic database of service providers was not adequately maintained, with the result that “other entities were favoured” when it came to requesting quotations.
A financial investigation reportedly discovered that some service providers were making irregular payments into the bank accounts of junior municipal officials.
In addition, immediately after a cash withdrawal from a service provider’s bank account, “a corresponding deposit would be effected [in the] municipal manager’s personal bank account”.
The report also detailed how Ntabankulu municipality, while it was under the leadership of Tantsi:
Used service providers that were not in the database;
Gave contracts to service providers that had no contact details on the database; and
Gave contracts to service providers that quoted VAT numbers belonging to other entities.
The preliminary Hawks report has been submitted to the office of Premier Noxolo Kiviet, Ntabankulu mayor Zuko Lwana and provincial police commissioner LieutenantGeneral Celiwe Binta.
A decision on whether to prosecute has not been made.
Tantsi could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Mnquma speaker Nomnikelo Magadla said the municipality only became aware of the investigation against Tantsi during his interview.
“He declared that there was such [an investigation] but the council said because he had declared it and he qualified for the job, let us appoint him.
“We believe that he proven guilty.
“If the courts of law find him guilty, he will be released from his position,” said Magadla.
Local government superintendent-general Stanley Khanyile said: “We will invite the municipality to submit a report on the matter and will act appropriately.
“Our view is that any person who is tainted [by] irregularities cannot occupy an office such as that of the accounting officer.”
In his letter to Madonsela, Casa provincial chairman Chief J J Ndzambule wrote that the public protector should also investigate why then Ntabankulu Mayor Zuko Lwana, who co-operated with the investigation, was “suddenly and abruptly removed from his position by the ANC”.
The ANC’s provincial secretary, Oscar Mabuyane, could not be contacted for comment.
UDM MPL Max Mhlathi said the government would continue to suffer if prospective employees are not checked before getting employed.
“If we are honest and want a clean administration, people who have dark clouds of corruption and fraud hanging over their heads should not be considered for employment.
“There will municipality.
“The major problem we are facing is that the ANC puts aside everything else when it comes to recruiting their cadres.”
DA MPL Dacre Haddon said: “What we’re dealing with is nothing new.
“It’s cadre deployment … until we get rid of cadre deployment and start having performance management systems in place we are going to get stuck with this problem.
“Only now is (Qoboshiyane) saying that if municipalities do not get clean audits he will start firing people, but operation clean audit has been going on for five years.
“Maybe he is saying this because we have general elections next year.” —