The DA is calling for an investigation into a possible abuse of public funds by Mhlathuze Water Board chairperson Dudu Myeni.
Tarnia Baker, shadow deputy minister of human settlements, says the party will write to Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to request an investigation.
“City Press has revealed Myeni’s travel invoices and itineraries of 23 trips that were booked and paid for by the Mhlathuze Water Board,” according ot Baker. “The documents show trips totaling R678 761 on five-star hotels, business-class travel, hotel room service and a limousine ride.
“This extravagant expenditure was allowed even though Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan had announced cost-cutting measures which limited air travel, car hire, accommodation and conferences.”
She adds that, in terms of the Public Protector Act, the Public Protector is empowered to investigate “abuse or unjustifiable exercise of power or unfair, capricious, discourteous or other improper conduct or undue delay by a person performing a public function”.
“The truth is that Myeni should not have been allowed to be in this position at all,” Baker states. “On 28 November 2016, the Pietermaritzburg High Court found that the extension of her term as Chairperson of the Mhlathuze Water Authority was unlawful and that it be set aside.
“The Mhlathuze Water Authority’s 2014/15 and 2015/16 annual reports indicate that Myeni was paid R538 000 in 2015 with an additional R508 000 in 2016. Since a court has ruled that her appointment from February 2015 to date was unlawful, Myeni should pay back the full R1 046 000.
“Last week the DA wrote to the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, requesting that she investigate a clear breach of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) by Myeni and received an unsatisfactory response with no indication of what steps the Minister is taking to ensure accountability.”