OUR efforts to eradicate fraud, corruption, and maladministration were reinforced by the recent hosting of the eThekwini Municipality Fraud and Corruption Awareness Seminar to observe International Fraud and Corruption Awareness Week from 13 to 19 November.
A few days after the hosting of the seminar, one of our investigators from the City Integrity and Investigations Unit was arrested for allegedly soliciting a bribe from a businessman. As the Municipality, we subscribe to the rule of law and good governance. We also support any initiative that seeks to root out fraud and corruption. We commend law enforcement officers for responding swiftly to the incident. Soon after the court appearance of the accused, internal processes will begin.
This is one example of how the scourge of fraud and corruption has crippled municipalities and government departments. However, I am glad that we hosted the seminar that was attended by an array of industry expects. This shows that we are not all talk but are serious about taking action and eradicating fraud and corruption within our ranks. The seminar has armed us with multi-pronged strategies to not only fight corruption but also to develop and implement strategies to promote good ethics as well as anti-fraud and anti-corruption programmes in our organisation.
We are working relentlessly to fight corruption and we won’t rest up until we have nipped it in the bud. I am proud that during the 2020/2021 financial year, we managed to recover about R12 million from fraudulent transactions. This sends a strong message to those contemplating fraudulent activities. During the 2021/22 financial year, 18 companies were blacklisted because of fraud and corruption and in the same period 49 officials resigned who were under investigation for fraud, corruption, and maladministration. As of October 2022, we have 118 cases under consequence management, and 21 criminal cases are registered with law enforcement agencies. I am also pleased to update residents that I recently had the opportunity to participate in the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 27) that was held in Egypt.
It was themed ‘Cities race to zero’ and I participated in a panel discussion on desalination and water reuse. This where I emphasised the importance of strong collaboration with the private sector and civil society to address climate change induced disasters and to escalate programmes to improve water provision and infrastature. Our participation in this conference empowered us with knowledge gained to formulate strategies to mitigate our challenge of water deficit that has been confronting us for years. Water security has been a concern and to overcome that concern, we have two options.
The first being the implementation of a desalination programme or have a new dam in place by 2030. We are comforted by the fact that the Department of Water Affairs has committed to building the Upper Umkomaas Dam that is expected to be commissioned by 2030 to the tune of R24 billion.