Ifp councillors accused of defrauding the state

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The uMhlabuyalingana municipality in northern KwaZulu-Natal has allegedly defrauded the department of local government and traditional affairs of more than R3million.

Sowetan has been reliably informed that the IFP councillors had conned the department to pay consultants and a contractor to oversee the building of the council chamber and municipal offices.

The building of the chamber is expected to eventually cost over R6million. Some councillors claim that half of the money had already been paid.

It is believed that the municipality had applied for a municipal infrastructure grant (MIG) to be paid before the companies commenced their duties.

The project was to have started last year.

An infuriated IFP councillor, who declined to be named, and who serves in the executive council, told Sowetan- that the municipality was in a state of collapse as certain officials - including municipal manager Eric Manqele, speaker Lindani Ngubani and mayor Dompasi Ncube - had "colluded to authorise the payment to the companies before they commenced work.

Allegations of fraud and maladministration have allegedly led to the temporary suspension of assistance from the Development Bank of Southern Africa. -

A document in Sowetan's possession shows that Manqele had facilitated the payments from the MIG to Uluntu Aptech System and Siyaya Aluminium last year to build the municipal chamber and offices.

Money paid to Siyaya Aluminium amounts to R794000 "for nothing", while at some point Uluntu Aptech System received R35921 - also unaccounted for.

Manqele, Ncube, Ngubane and the chairperson of the bid committee Justice Nsele, as well as the chief financial officer Mthandeni Zungu are accused of awarding tenders to their pals.

"Exco (the municipality's executive committee) took a resolution to appoint a forensic audit firm to deal with the irregularities but Manqele refused.

"The resolution aimed to investigate misconduct by the mayor and officials for swindling taxpayers' money," said an Exco member.

However, Ncube has denied the claims, saying he knew "nothing about millions" paid to companies that failed to deliver.