Durban's Sutcliffe waits for verdict

20 June 2011 - 03:05 By NIVASHNI NAIR

Durban city manager Mike Sutcliffe will not know the outcome of an investigation into fraud and corruption, in which he is implicated, before his contract ends next month.

Sutcliffe and former mayor Obed Mlaba are being investigated as part of a wider probe into irregular spending and shady contracts in the eThekwini municipality.

The ANC is expected to meet soon to decide on whether to extend Sutcliffe's contract.

Insiders claim that Sutcliffe has fallen out of favour with the ANC and that his contract, which ends on July 31, will be not renewed.

Spokesman for KwaZulu-Natal's department of co-operative governance, Lennox Mabaso, said the investigation, initiated by MEC Nomusa Dube at the instigation of the ANC, was a "long process" without a deadline.

"A probe of this kind takes time. Currently it is going smoothly. Because it must be a thorough investigation, we cannot put a time frame on it," Mabaso said.

The ANC called on Dube to order a forensic investigation after the auditor-general found that the city had irregularly spent R535-million and the audit implicated Sutcliffe and three officials in irregular housing contracts worth R3.5-billion over 10 years.

Mlaba allegedly had shares in a company that nearly landed a R3-billion tender to convert the city's waste into energy.

Sutcliffe and Mlaba were not available for comment.

The investigation will cover the non-disclosure of interests by councillors and officials, the alleged illegal renting and selling of RDP houses, irregularities in travel and overtime allowances and in the appointment of staff, and allegations of fraudulent practices in the metro police.

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