Council leaders face jail over cash

SENIOR officials of two municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal are facing arrest after their failure to report on the use or misuse of public money as required by law.

The two IFP-led councils - the Umkhanyakude district municipality in northern Zululand and Endumeni municipality in Dundee - have "failed to submit financial statements to the provincial government and the auditor-general".

Eight other municipalities were given final warnings to comply and submit their statements or face a similar fate.

In an unprecedented move cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Nomusa Dube announced that the leadership of the two municipalities would be charged with financial misconduct.

Yesterday, Dube met 18 of the province's 61 municipalities that have failed to submit annual financial statements as required by law.

Dube warned that she would be filing charges with police by the end of this week, after which the municipalities will be charged and appear in court.

The respondents will be mayors, municipal managers and chief financial officers.

She told the mayors and municipal managers that despite her appeal a few months ago, imploring them to submit financial reports, this had not happened.

"This demonstrates a disregard of the legislative requirements that govern local government," she said.

Financial statements have to be submitted so that there is monitoring and evaluation to ensure that public money is used properly, Dube said.

She said the non-compliance is at the core of the plummeting levels of confidence by communities in local leadership.

Umkhanyakude mayor Lawrence Mthombeni welcomed Dube's move.