The Mercury of October 2, 2008, reports that the eThekwini Municipality has blocked access to an internal audit report (numbered 05287) and that Democratic Alliance Cllr. John Steenhuisen is using the Promotion of Access to Information Act to try and obtain a copy. At issue is a sum of R15-million which the municipality paid to various security companies for work which the security companies did not do but charged for, in error, say the companies. City Treasurer Krish Kumar admitted last year that the city was owed the money and that it is being paid back. It is believed, however, that audit report will show that the companies were let off repaying the money.
The city uses the companies for access control, armed response and for escorting city workers in dangerous areas. The whole issue is confused with contracts having been extended several times, despite new tenders having been issued, at least one ex-city employee now being involved with a security company, and several of the security companies sharing the same addresses and phone numbers. The whole system appears to be very badly organised and for there to be many opportunities for graft and corruption to flourish.
City Manager Mike Sutcliffe is reported as saying that he will not enter into a discussion on the matter. He further said that the report was an ‘internal’ one and that the municipality did not distribute such ‘work in progress’. He said that it would be referred to the executive committee when the work was done. Cllr. Steenhuisen reponded that he had been a member of the committee since 2006 and had never seen such such a report served up to the committee.