, South African Times

By Gugu Mbonambi

May 4th, 2012

Derek Naidoo, the eThekwini municipality’s controversial deputy city manager for procurement and infrastructure, will soon vacate his office at the city hall, escaping misconduct charges and possible suspension pending the outcome of criminal investigations.

Naidoo is the second high-ranking official fingered in the scathing Manase and Associates report to exit the municipality in recent months.

The abridged version of the Manase report recommended that disciplinary action be taken against Naidoo, for failure to comply with supply-chain management policies and failure to exercise due care and diligence in dealing with matters before the bid adjudication committee.

Earlier this year, housing head Cogi Pather, who was also named in the report, tendered his resignation.

The purge of former city manager Michael Sutcliffe’s close allies became evident last week when the executive committee endorsed a decision to terminate Naidoo’s month-to-month contract.

The latest development has fuelled fears that Naidoo and Pather may never answer to allegations levelled against them in the Manase report.

“Cogi and Derek have so much dirt on councillors and the city is just allowing them to leave. They will not face disciplinary action and the charges will be squashed and nothing will ever be exposed,” a source said.

Although the full contents of the controversial report, yet to be made public, had been handed to the government’s anti-corruption task team – which includes the Hawks, the Special Investigating Unit and the National Prosecuting Authority – no charges had been formally laid against implicated officials.

Naidoo has served in the municipality for more than a decade and rakes in an annual salary of just over R1.6 million.

He was among those who facilitated the municipality’s biggest black empowerment deal, the privatisation of the city’s public transport operation that led to the awarding of the lucrative bus tender to Remant (Pty) Ltd and Alton Coach Africa Consortium, owned by Jay Singh, for R70m.

The deal was clouded in controversy from its inception…Read more.