Members of the Ndlambe DA caucus today opened a criminal case against Ndlambe municipal manager Rolly Dumezweni, for alleged illegal actions relating to the awarding of a tender for a sea water reverse osmosis (SWRO) plant on the banks of the Kowie River.
The case was opened in terms of section 171 of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA), which makes certain acts and omissions a criminal offence.
“This case arises from the judgment against Ndlambe Municipality in the Grahamstown High Court last week, which found that the awarding of a tender to Quality Filtration Systems (QFS) for the installation of a reverse osmosis plant was unlawful and irregular,” councillors Skura Venene and Khanyisa Daweti said in a statement released this afternoon.
“The judgment further fingered Dumezweni as the key official responsible for amending and awarding the tender. It also highlighted the irregular (and frankly illegal) pre-payment of R20-million to QFS, before a contract had been signed. Only Dumezweni would have been in a position to authorize this,” the statement said.
In terms of the MFMA, the municipal manager has a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to prevent irregular, unauthorised, and fruitless and wasteful expenditure. “Clearly he did not do so in this instance,” the DA councillors said.
“What is particularly damning, is that Dumezweni is an advocate of the high court, who earned his degree and did his pupillage while in the full time employ of the municipality (at the expense of the municipality, who did not have use of his time while he was undertaking this programme). As an officer of the court, his actions in this case leave a sour taste in the mouth, and he must be held accountable to the full extent of the law,” the councillors continued.
In the meantime, the DA caucus in Ndlambe will be submitting a motion to council calling for Dumezweni’s immediate suspension and a full internal investigation into this matter.
“The DA will not tolerate corruption, maladministration or financial misconduct on its watch. Municipal finances must be utilised to benefit the residents of the municipality, not to benefit the connected few. We will not rest until all those responsible for this debacle are brought to book,” the statement concluded.