Hawks hovering over ELM

Investigation follows R872m report on irregular, unauthorized, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

After months of speculation by local and mainstream media, Emfuleni Local Municipality Executive Mayor, Councillor Jacob Khawe has set the record straight on action taken against irregular, unauthorized, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

In a media briefing held at the Gauteng Legislature on Tuesday, 13th November, Mayor Khawe and the Municipal Manager Dithabe Nkoane and the Chief Financial Officer Andile Dyakala, announced the HAWKS have started with investigations into allegations of financial misconduct.

This follows public outcry and wide condemnation of the revelation that a sum of R872 million was allegedly misspent in Emfuleni Local Municipality.

The media briefing was also attended by Speaker of Council, Councillor Maipato Tsokolibane, Chief Whip Christina Sale and the entire Mayoral Committee.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation has already written to Councillor Khawe requesting information as part of the ongoing investigation.

Nkoane told the media briefing that by bringing the HAWKS in to investigate allegations of financial misconduct, the municipality was demonstrating that all corrupt activities had to come to an end.

“We have opened a case with SAPS for all these fraud and corruption related matters, we can apply for Section 205 to allow the HAWKS to retrieve personal files, including phone records,” he said.

Nkoane reiterated that all officials found to have transgressed supply chain processes will be dealt with.

“In the coming weeks, there will a lot of movement including charging people who have transgressed supply chain processes of the municipality,” he said.

Mayor Khawe told journalists that Council had resolved that an investigation be undertaken, following the tabling of a report on the R872m of irregular, unauthorized, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

“The names of people involved in the alleged fraud and corruption are the subject of police investigation, but the affected departments are known. It would be a bit unfair at this stage that we mention names,” said the Mayor.

Khawe said the investigation will reveal whether this was ignorance or sheer corruption.

The CFO, Dyakala revealed the following in his address to the media:

  • Irregular expenditure emanates from sheer disregard of supply chain processes,
  • Contracts extended without council approval or tender processes,
  • Pricing increased without supply chain processes,
  • Unwarranted deviations from supply chain processes,
  • Splitting orders to avoid going to normal tender processes

The CFO said in the last financial year ending 30 June 2017, the municipality had an operating deficit of R909m, but this reduced to R689m a year later, by 30 June 2018.

“Just by doing the basics right, we have realized that the liquidity position of the municipality has improved, while we’re celebrating, we are not out of the woods yet, there is still a lot more that needs to be done,” said Dyakala.

The CFO said the municipality was on the right trajectory to recovery. “We have inculcated a culture of financial discipline,” he said.

By Wandisile Kunene & Thabiso Radebe
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