eThekwini Municipality slammed for ‘selective’ discipline, Newsline

Durban – The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) has raised concerns about eThekwini Municipality’s “selective approach” in handling consequence management as some senior managers are yet to be charged despite damning reports implicating them.

The union has written to Deputy Mayor, Belinda Scott and executive committee calling disciplinary actions to be taken against Andre Petersen, Head of Supply Chain Management (SCM), for awarding a R400 million contract irregularly.

The unions said Petersen who is holding an influential position in awarding lucrative contracts in the city has been implicated in many irregularities and fraud but he has not been held accountable.

A City Integrity and Investigation Unit (CIIU) report found that Petersen endorsed the appointment of Zikhulise Group for a R400m housing contract in 2016, despite the company being non-compliant.

Zikhulise Group is owned by separated Durban couple, Sbu Mpisane and Shauwn Mkhize.

The company is known as a major role-player in housing contracts within the municipality and it has been awarded multimillion-rand contracts over the years.

The report recommended that disciplinary charges must be preferred against Petersen, for contravening the Municipal Systems Act.

It said Petersen, who chaired the bid adjudication committee (BAC) which awarded the contract failed to perform his duties in good faith, transparency, honestly and diligently.

He also failed to act in the best interest of the municipality and in a way that the credibility and integrity of the municipality were not compromised.

“Being party to the endorsement of the appointment of Zikhulise Group, yet as the chairperson of all sittings relevant to this matter failed to ensure the required compliance are met by Zikhulise,” read the report.

It also slammed Petersen for failing to co-operate and comply with requests from the CIIU with regard to information required to assist an investigation.

However, despite all the findings, no action has been taken against Petersen, while other officials have been subjected to a disciplinary hearing and others suspended.

The report was completed two years ago and it was submitted to the City manager for implementation.

Instead, Petersen was said to be on a “disciplinary extravaganza” levelling charges against a number of his subordinates.

In the letter to deputy mayor, Queen Mbatha, chairperson of Imatu said they were inundated with bulks of reports recommending the disciplinary of staff at all levels within the City, but the approach was selective.

“Multiple damning reports are implicating the head of SCM, but amazingly, they are not being implemented. This is happening not only contrary to the law and the disciplinary code but against the constitutional right of other staff members who mainly report to him,” she said.

Scott and the City’s spokespeople did not respond at the time of publication.

● Meanwhile, the Active Citizens Movement has written to the National Prosecuting Authority to investigate whether Sipho Nzuza, the suspended City manager violated his bail conditions by attending a virtual meeting of the executive management committee on Monday.

Sunday Tribune