President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday tasked the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) to probe allegations of corruption, maladministration and unlawful conduct by employees at the embattled Endumeni Local Municipality in Dundee under Umzinyathi District, north of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).
On Wednesday, KZN MEC for co-operative governance and traditional affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube placed the troubled municipality under administration after following months of "infighting and paralysis" and only recently appointed a mayor and a speaker.
Dube-Ncube tabled a forensic investigation report into irregular expenditure in October that uncovered rampant corruption at the municipality, including payments made to individuals on the pretext they were donations to religious organisations which did not exist.
The allegations were directed at some of the most senior elected leaders and appointed officials at the municipality and a councillor involved in fraud, corruption, maladministration, and irregular, unauthorised and fruitless expenditure.
The forensic report also found that some payments were made to business entities to purchase equipment, in contravention of the municipality's own policies.
There were also fraudulent subsistence and travel claims, irregular appointments of service providers and excessive and irregular expenditure on security services.
When Dube-Ncube gave the council 21 days to process the forensic probe and advise her on remedial action, the resultant report went missing and her department had to supply the municipality with another copy.
The paralysis at the municipality saw it going without a mayor and speaker for a "considerable" period of time.
Former Endumeni mayor Siboniso Mbatha was also at the centre of some controversy within the municipality. He was arrested in May for allegedly plotting to kill the former Speaker of the municipality, Bongiwe Mbatha-Makhathini, for being an obstacle in the awarding of a tender.
In a Government Gazette issued on Friday, Ramaphosa said that he deemed it necessary that the said allegations should be investigated and civil proceedings emanating from the investigation be adjudicated upon.
Ramaphosa wants the SIU to investigate any alleged serious maladministration in connection with the affairs of the municipality, improper or unlawful conduct by the employees or officials of the municipality, unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money or property, and unlawful, irregular or unapproved transactions.