Ricochet News

Metro spent R50 million on outsourced lawyers, despite having a legal department

By Afikile Lugunya - May 21, 2018
Metro spent R50 million on outsourced lawyers, despite having a legal department

The Auditor-General’s Report, the outsourcing of legal services, Bayworld, salaries for suspended officials and the misuse of municipal vehicles are among the priorities of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality's Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) at the moment.

MPAC Chairperson, Councillor Yoliswa Yako, on Monday addressed local journalists and said that she has not been sleeping since her appointment to the post, but has been working tirelessly to ensure that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and its officials are able to account for monies spent to local residents.

Yako also revealed that investigations done by the MPAC had revealed that R50 million was spent on outsourcing legal expertise despite the Metro having its own internal legal team.

She said that they will be looking at “what percentage of this work has been allocated to black law firms” amongst other things.

Yako further revealed that a number of municipal officials have been suspended at City Hall over various matters. However, these suspended officials, some who have been sitting at home for months now, continue to earn their salaries.

She said she does not have the exact number of how many officials are currently on suspension, but said it is her understanding that the Metro continues to pay their salaries while also paying the salaries of staff members, who are acting in the positions left vacant by suspended officials.

“The MPAC are currently looking into this and have requested a report detailing the names of attorneys of firms representing these officials, reasons for the delays resolving these cases and the total cost involved,” Yako said.

“It is totally unacceptable that taxpayer’s money is wasted on officials, who are sitting at home and are not making difference in this Metro."

She added that the cases need to be dealt with as soon as possible, which will entail tough decisions being made.

To address the issue of misuse of municipal vehicles while staying in line with the mandate of the MPAC, which is to promote “good governance, transparency and accountability on the use of municipal resources”, Yako said that MPAC plans on working closely with the Metro's Safety and Security Department.

She said that they will not tolerate staff using Metro vehicles for personal gain.

Yako further said that the MPAC is aiming to break the culture of municipal vehicles being driven around on personal business while service delivery suffers.

She said that the MPAC will be conducting oversight visits as the year progresses.

On Tuesday, the MPAC team is expected to make an oversight visit to Bayworld in Summerstrand, with the aim of seeing what needs to be done to return the recreational facility to its former glory days.