Mbombela boss suspended over Afcon tenders

2013-10-23 16:32

The municipal manager of Mpumalanga’s capital has finally been suspended following weeks of uncertainty over his future.

The Mbombela council suspended Xolani Mzobe and the municipality’s community-services manager, Rasheed Matola, today following a preliminary report on an investigation that was commissioned by Mpumalanga Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Simon Skhosana, last month.

Provincial Cogta spokesperson Simphiwe Kunene said the preliminary findings pointed out certain irregularities relating to compliance with the Municipal Finance Management Act and procurement regulations and policies related to the tenders for hosting the Orange Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

But Mzobe has been suspended before the completion of the investigation.

Skhosana has given investigators an extra 14 days to complete the report because of “the huge volume of work” that needs to be done.

“This investigation covers a number of issues and the preliminary report has concluded some of those issues while others are still outstanding,” said Kunene.

Mzobe, Matola and Mbombela spokesperson Joseph Ngala were unavailable to comment as their cellphones were off.

The Democratic Alliance has welcomed the suspension.

DA councillor Werner le Grange said: “The DA ... believes that Mzobe’s suspension stems from political tensions within the local and provincial ANC. If the Afcon investigation is truly the reason behind the suspensions, why is no action being taken against Mayor Cathy Dlamini and members of her mayoral committees?”

Even within the ANC, the investigation was considered to be politically motivated.

Before Skhosana appointed the investigators last month, the ANC Ehlanzeni region informed its councillors to force Mzobe to resign.

Most of the councillors did not do so because no reasons were put forward and also out of fear that the municipality would have to pay Mzobe more than R3 million in compensation as he had three years and nine months remaining on his contract.

The councillors also raised a concern that corruption-riddled municipalities like Nkomazi and Thaba Chweu were treated with kid gloves as they were given support teams to assist them instead of being placed under full-scale investigation or administration.

Two days after the ANC’s failure to win over its councillors, Skhosana put Mbombela under investigation.

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