Municipal officials who were irregularly appointed or those who feasted on resources meant for residents are in for a torrid time in Nelson Mandela Bay.
A day after being elected as the first Democratic Alliance mayor of the city named after Nelson Mandela‚ Athol Trollip has given insight into his plan to root out corruption and improve service delivery.
“I’m prepared to work with everyone in that municipality but if you’ve been irregularly appointed or you’ve helped yourself illegally or unlawfully to resources that are there for the use of the citizens and not yourself‚ you will have to account for that‚” he said in an interview on CapeTalk (www.capetalk.co.za) radio on Friday.
Shortly after being sworn in as mayor‚ he undertook to present his 100-day plan of action at a special council meeting next Thursday.
Asked how he would deal with the legacy left behind by the previous African National Congress-run administration‚ he said on Friday: “I think it’s quite simple. I believe all people are inherently good and they become bad‚ get corrupted by circumstances and individuals.
“I will make sure that our administration is clean and that we will keep politics for politicians‚ out of the administration and hold the administrators to account to do their job.”
If that could be achieved over the next five years‚ he believed “we can make this city work”.
Nelson Mandela Bay municipal officials involved in the previous administration were described by The Herald (www.heraldlive.co.za) newspaper as a “law unto themselves‚ ignoring legislation and wasting money without any consequences”‚ in a damning report in February.
Fruitless and wasteful expenditure totalling R146-million was uncovered in a scathing audit report by the Auditor-General (AG) for the 2014-15 financial year. The AG revealed irregular expenditure over that time amounting to R1.3-billion.
“Things go wrong and become corrupted when politicians want to put their greedy paws into the administration to access money and patronage that isn’t there for them‚” Trollip told CapeTalk.
“That’s what’s been happening in this city and I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that we respect each other’s space and we allow professionals to be professionals‚ reward hard work‚ give people promotions who work hard and achieve their objectives and those that don’t get a promotion and keep politics out of the administration.”
He said that the DA had promised in its election manifesto to stop corruption.
“Corruption is the enemy of opportunity and service delivery. If we make every tax rand count to the last cent‚ to deliver for our citizens‚ we can have a much better city that looks different and has dignified service delivery. If any money … is abused or eroded for individual interest‚ then the citizens suffer.”
Turning his attention to people who may have been appointed irregularly‚ he warned that those appointments would be scrutinised.
“If you’ve been appointed irregularly in this municipality you must understand that that appointment will come under scrutiny and if it fails the scrutiny then your appointment will be null and void‚” he said.
“We have to stamp out this kind of comradely countenance where cadre deployment revolving door just opens opportunities for people who’ve got in with the political leadership and that breaks down morale in the civil service. We cannot have it in the civil service.”
The top-three items on his to-do list for the next five years‚ he said‚ were to stop corruption‚ create an economic environment that would create jobs and improve service delivery.
“We will have to relook at this budget that we’ve inherited to make sure that there is a budget preference and priority of infrastructure development. We cannot attract investment into the city if the infrastructure can’t carry investment‚” he said.
Findings in the report by the AG‚ made public earlier this year‚ showed that:
– Water losses in the metro amounted to R148 million while electricity losses totalled R244-million;
– R79-million in revenue was foregone due to residents not being billed for water and electricity;
– The municipality was a defendant in lawsuits totalling R82-million;
– Contracts were awarded to bidders other than those recommended by tender committees and without ratification by the city manager;
– Contracts were extended or modified without the approval of a properly delegated official; and
– Tenders were awarded to service providers who were in the service of the municipality and/or whose directors are employed by the city.
“The accounting officer/council did not always report to the police cases of alleged irregular expenditure that constituted a criminal offence‚” said the AG’s report.
“Cases of financial misconduct which constitute a crime committed by officials were not always reported to the police.
“Allegations of theft‚ fraud‚ extortion [and] forgery [involving] a forged document which exceeded R100 000 were not reported to the police.” – TMG Digital
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