Zululand municipality under fire after R33m ‘vanishes’

Opposition parties in the Zululand district municipality have called for heads to roll over alleged corruption. This follow allegations that R33-million has gone missing from the municipal coffers.

Cyber criminals to blame

The money is said to have vanished without a trace on December 27, with the municipality conceding that it was victim of hacking. However, the municipality said the fraudulent transaction was blocked by the bank’s anti-fraud unit. 

“The statement released by the EFF in KZN about an amount of R33-million that is allegedly missing from the municipality’s coffers is false and has no basis of the truth.

Fraudulent transaction blocked by bank

“It is another desperate and futile attempt to derail Zululand’s unparalleled record of service delivery led by mayor Thulasizwe Buthelezi,” said the municipality in a statement released on Tuesday.

The statement further explained that no funds were lost during the attempted hacking. 

“An investigation by ABSA is currently underway. Furthermore, a criminal case was opened at Ulundi police station,” the municipality said. 

NFP demands accountability

But on Wednesday, the National Freedom Party (NFP), which is the official opposition in the council would have none of that. It is calling for a full-scale probe into the allegations.

“It’s not for the first time that the Zululand district municipality has faced such damning allegations. We want a full-scale investigation. We also want other bodies such as the SIU, auditor-general and National Treasury to be involved,” NFP spokesman Canaan Mdletshe told Sunday World. 

Mdletshe also said in the interim, the municipal chief financial officer, together with the municipal manager, should step aside. This is to allow investigations to conclude unhindered. 

“There is a lot going on here. We are not going to take this lying down. The voters and people of Zululand need to know when their money is being stolen or used for other things. Other things rather than service delivery,” he said.

In a 45-seat council, the IFP has 20 seats, NFP 14, ANC 8 while the EFF has two seats.

Call for no-confidence vote

Meanwhile, the EFF said at it first council meeting the party will call for a vote of no confidence against mayor Buthelezi. The party was the first to blow the whistle on the alleged missing funds 

“This is an orchestrated plan to loot the funds for campaigning reasons ahead of the elections. The mayor must also answer because the funds disappeared under his watch,” said the red berets.

Buthelezi has not had a happy time in the office, with salvos being fired in all cylinders gunning for his head.

In 2021, he had to defend a R5-million breakfast meeting held in Durban. The municipality claimed it convened the gathering to promote and attract investors to Zululand.

His detractors came out gun blazing, wanting him to be shown the door, but he survived. Last year he was accused by some female employees of asking for sexual favours and making life difficult for those who denied him his sexual advances. Buthelezi refuted the claims on grounds of a smear campaign.

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