THE Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality will finally be forced to give answers to allegations of fraud and corruption contained in the explosive Kabuso report when the city is handed forensic investigators’ findings later this week.
The report, “which may impact negatively on the economic and financial welfare of the municipality, the Eastern Cape and the Republic as a whole” if and when it becomes public, will be handed over to Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Zanoxolo Wayile this week by Local Government MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane.
Qoboshiyane said yesterday that the East London forensic team which compiled the controversial investigation into Bay land deals and projects between 2003 and August 2009, Kabuso CC, informed the MEC yesterday that its findings were ready to be handed over to the metro for its response.
The report was commissioned by Qoboshiyane’s predecessor, Sicelo Gqoba- na, in late 2009.
“Kabuso has briefed me that the report is now ready for the metro to view and compile its responses,” Qoboshiyane said. “The report is wide-ranging, from 2003 [to the end of 2009], and the metro will be given 30 days to approach the individuals and departments mentioned in the report.
“In its response, the metro must indicate what action should be taken against the departments or individuals who have been found to have acted inappropriately,” Qoboshiyane said.
The MEC said if fraud or corruption was suspected, he would have to indicate to the provincial legislature what action the city’s council proposed taking.
He is expected to table the report in the legislature towards the end of May, after the local government elections.
“I will request a response to each and every category in the report,” Qoboshiyane said.
Municipal spokesman Roland Williams said the city welcomed the chance to answer any allegations contained in the report.
“We can confirm that the MEC will be handing the report to mayor Wayile this week, whereupon council will study the report and make recommendations accordingly. We fully welcome this step and look forward to the finalisation of this process as soon as possible,” Williams said.
The report seems likely to only be tabled after the May 18 elections. Qoboshiyane said that after receiving the metro’s responses, he would sit with Kabuso to evaluate the answers over a period of about 10 days.
After that, and only if there were no residual issues to be sorted out or clarified with the metro, he would table the report in the provincial legislature.
In a letter to the National Council of Provinces on the progress of the Kabuso investigation, tabled at the select committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs in Parliament earlier this month, Qoboshiyane said the report had been delayed by a lack of cooperation by municipal officials, mainly due to “fear of intimidation”.
Other reasons for the delay were the “general perception of political instability in the metro”, the suspension of former municipal manager Graham Richards in July 2009, and the appointment of acting municipal manager Elias Ntoba, as well as the resignation of former mayor Nondumiso Maphazi in November 2009.
According to Qoboshiyane’s letter, the scope of the Kabuso investigation included:
* The manner in which the R4.5- billion Madiba Bay development along Marine Drive had been initiated and executed;
* Issues around the failed R1-billion Embizweni cultural village development at Wells Estate;
* The problems involving the lease and development of the Beachview and Van Stadens municipally owned resorts;
* The Njoli Square redevelopment in New Brighton;
* How the Kwantu Towers lease with the municipality was initiated, how the construction of the Red Location Museum was executed and how the controversial automatic meter reading deal came to be;
* Claims and counter claims between businessman Yossuf Jeeva’s Africorp International and the municipality of moneys outstanding;
* Whether councillors and senior managers declared their business interests;
* How the old Swartkops power station came to be sold and whether the sale followed supply chain management processes; and
* The circumstances surrounding the dismissal, reinstatement, re-employment or withdrawal of disciplinary proceedings against various municipal officials.