The eThekwini municipality has taken swift action by suspending officials linked to alleged irregular and fraudulent transactions amounting to R17m in three housing projects.
In a statement released on Sunday, the municipality revealed that the housing projects affected were located in Umlazi T-Section, eMaphephetheni, and KwaMakhutha.
The suspension of these officials follows the municipality’s internal control processes, which uncovered an elaborate fraudulent scheme last month. The scheme involved the payment of R17m to two companies. Additionally, six other officials have been issued with letters of intent to suspend pending further investigation.
The city’s spokesperson, Gugu Sisilana, clarified that the payments made were part of an ongoing investigation by the city integrity and investigations unit. She also emphasized that the reported amount of R32m was inaccurate and that the money was not missing but had been fraudulently transferred.
Contrary to some reports, the three housing projects affected are unrelated to the resettlement of flood victims. They are ordinary projects under the municipality’s human settlements unit. Despite the setback caused by this fraudulent scheme, these projects will continue. However, there will be a budget shortfall in the current financial year, resulting in their estimated completion being delayed until the 2024/25 financial year.
Sisilana affirmed the city’s unwavering commitment to combatting fraud and corruption in all its forms. The municipality is determined to root out these practices wherever they may occur.