Durban - The row over the eThekwini municipality’s decision not to make public the controversial Manase report raged on on Wednesday, with opposition parties saying the city was obliged to release it because it had been produced using taxpayers’ money.
The eThekwini mayor, James Nxumalo, said the city was not ready to release the forensic report on fraud and corruption in its structures because doing so would prejudice the parties involved, including jeopardising municipal interests.
He said in Durban that the report contained the names of the whistle-blowers who might be called to give evidence at disciplinary hearings.
“Another important issue is that the anti-corruption task team is also investigating issues raised in the report and releasing it may compromise these investigations.
“We are therefore saying that the timing of releasing this report may not be opportune at this stage,” said Nxumalo.
Opposition parties reacted angrily to this announcement with the National Freedom Party charging that the mayor was playing “hide and seek” with the ratepayers.
“We are totally against the city’s stance on this matter. The city manager promised to make the report public and the public and taxpayers are keen to know what is contained in this report,” said the NFP’s Bongiwe Mtshali.
DA caucus leader Tex Collins said he was baffled by the city’s stance because some of the names had been made public.
“A whole bunch of people were named. Now all of a sudden they are not going to jeopardise people’s names.
“I made an application for it to be released to us and they said I can read it but I cannot tell you what it says because I am bound by secrecy as an executive committee member. What good is that to anybody?” said Collins. “The city manager says he wants to protect whistle-blowers. I have no problem with that, remove their names and let us know what they are whistle-blowing about.
“That is the trouble with the government: they hide things from the people.”
The Minority Front’s caucus leader, Patrick Pillay, said his party felt taxpayers had a right to the full report – given that it had been undertaken on their behalf.
Pillay said the MF did not want to do anything that would compromise processes still under way.
An abridged version of the report caused a stir when it was released by KZN Co-operative Governance MEC Nomusa Dube in February. - The Mercury