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Demand for probe of ECape municipality

Date Released: Mon, 8 September 2014 09:39 +0200

A local government watchdog in Grahamstown is demanding an investigation into allegations of maladministration and corruption that have led to the collapse of the Makana Municipality in the Eastern Cape town.

Rhodes University’s Public Service Accountability Monitor on Monday launched a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application in an effort to get access to a report said to contain allegations of maladministration and corruption, the organisation’s local government researcher Thabani Mdlongwa said.

“We hope that all the allegations of fraud and corruption are investigated,” Mdlongwa said.

He said with its PAIA application the organisation was hoping to have contents of the report in the public domain.

The report is with Co-operative Governance Minister Pravin Gordhan who received it last Wednesday, the same week he placed the municipality under administration for three months.

Financial woes at the municipality have seen the “collapse of basic services” where residents have gone weeks without water.

“The water crisis is still an on-going challenge. It is related to failing infrastructure. The water outages have affected the whole town,” Mdlongwa said.

The 158-page report, compiled by East London-based forensic auditing firm Kabuso, was commissioned by the Makana Council but it has never been tabled, DA MP Andrew Whitfield said.

Whitfield, whose constituency includes Grahamstown, said the DA would submit its own PAIA application to obtain the report. “We will fight to have this report made public and pending the implications of the report, we will consider laying charges,” he said.

On Monday Whitfield and party spokeswoman on water and sanitation Nosimo Balindlela visited the Kwathatha community in Grahamstown.

“Raw sewage flows down a hillside, through and past resident’s homes.

I was angered by the blatant collapse of basic services and neglect,” Whitfield said.

Spokeswoman Yoliswa Ramokolo said that while the municipality had been placed under administration the current administration would remain. Administrators would be sent to the town to help with its management.

She was not aware of allegations of fraud, corruption or maladministration. She said the municipality had fired its manager Pravine Naidoo in March following a R3 million scandal.

Another former municipality employee, strategic manager Mncedisi Boma, was fired last week after a disciplinary committee found him guilty of misconduct.

Ramokolo said there were some areas left without water yesterday after a pipe burst.

By: Xolani Koyana

Article Source: http://www.iol.co.za/capetimes/demand-for-probe-of-ecape-municipality-1.1744970#.VAa2qfmSzeI