nelsonmandelabayHeraldLive reports that former Nelson Mandela Bay municipality human settlements executive director Lindile Petuna must fork out more than R11m to reimburse the city after it overpaid a Seaview property owner in 2015 on his recommendation.

The High Court in Gqeberha ruled that Petuna, who has since been employed by the Knysna municipality, was liable for the R11.3m loss. The court found he had also withheld critical information — that the market value of the land was R3m — when he made the recommendation to mayor Ben Fihla and the council. Petuna recommended that council approve the purchase of the land for R14.3m to develop low-cost housing. He claimed in the report that the city would immediately be able to develop 9.6 hectares of the property with a further 17.55 hectares added in future. This was despite a feasibility study from his own department that clearly stated only 5.08 hectares of the land was suitable for human settlements development. Petuna, who left the municipality in November 2015, had unsuccessfully argued that because he was no longer in the employ of the city and the fact that he had advised the council on the basis of reports from officials of the department of human settlements, he should not be held liable for the loss.

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