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Mon Dec 22 16:15:03 SAST 2014

IFP asks court to order release of graft report

Sapa | 11 December, 2012 08:09
IFP President, Mangosuthu Buthelezi. File photo.
Image by: THULI DLAMINI

THE IFP yesterday applied in the Durban High Court for an order that the eThekwini Municipality make public a 700-page forensic audit report on fraud and corruption.

THE IFP yesterday applied in the Durban High Court for an order that the eThekwini Municipality make public a 700-page forensic audit report on fraud and corruption.

The party is asking the court to rule that the municipality's decision not to release the report in its entirety is unlawful and unconstitutional.

The municipality, KwaZulu-Natal cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Nomusa Dube and auditing firm Manase & Associates have been cited as respondents. They have 15 days in which to respond.

In October, the provincial department's spokesman, Lennox Mabaso, said councillors could see the report but would have to sign a confidentiality clause preventing them from going public with its contents.

In September, the DA said it would ask for the court's assistance in getting the report released.

DA caucus leader Tex Collins said he had made three applications in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act. The first was for the release of the Manase report, the second for an earlier forensic report by accounting firm Ngubane & Co, and the third for city manager Sbu Sithole to release the legal opinion he obtained, which is believed to have advised against releasing the report.

Collins said he did not believe that such legal advice had been given.

The forensic audit by Manase & Associates was instituted after auditor-general Terence Nombembe said in his 2009-2010 report that the municipality had irregularly spent R532-million. Accusations against a number of senior officials were made.

According to Nombembe, 10 councillors had links to entities doing business with the municipality.

The ANC has backed the decision not to make the full report public.

ANC Durban chairman Sibongiseni Dhlomo said in August that releasing it would be unfair to the people involved and would endanger the interests of the municipality.

An abridged version of the report was released by Dube in February. The city was to have released the full contents in July.

However, on August 1 mayor James Nxumalo said the full report would not be released. He also cited prejudice to those involved.

Nxumalo said the municipality hoped to make the full report public by the end of this month, when all disciplinary processes would have been completed.

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