Promises to turn around the dismal state of affairs at the KwaZulu-Natal Department of and Environmental Affairs (DAEA) are gradually being fulfilled, with the appointment of a purported “corruption buster” as the new Head of Department. According to the department’s MEC Mtholephi Mthimkhulu, on 1 August Advocate Modidima Mannya took over as of Department from Siddiq Adam. Adam, who hails from the KZN Treasury Department, held the position temporarily after the previous incumbent, Dr Jabulani Mjwara, resigned early this year amid allegations of corruption and mismanagement.
More specifically, Mjwara was accused of awarding dubious tenders, dispensing unreasonable subsidies, bestowing generous political favours, and irregularly suspending senior departmental staff – a number of whom were reassigned to their original posts after Mjwara’s resignation. financial audit of the department also found a R100-million overspend on its 2006/07 budget. “The department has begun to turn the corner as it grapples with implementing the turn-around strategy, following an internal audit that identified certain weaknesses in financial management during the 2004/05 and 2005/06 financial years,” said spokesperson Mbulelo Baloyi. I nvestigations into Mjwara’s alleged misconduct are incomplete and the KZN DAEA has not yet issued its findings. Should Mjwara be linked to criminal actions, he could face charges under South Africa’s legal system. – Lloyd Phillips