Msunduzi deputy ruffles feathers

2010-06-01 00:00

IT has been barely two months since Jabu Ngubo was appointed Msunduzi’s deputy mayor and she is already ruffling a few feathers.

Although the municipality has tightened its spending and is trying to increase its collection rate in order to boost its finances, The Witness has been informed that Ngubo has six bodyguards.

One of the bodyguards has allegedly claimed 152 hours of overtime, but the municipality has paid him only for the legal amount of 40 hours.

The Witness has also been informed that Ngubo has “used her position as deputy mayor” in order to have the road running past her house in Sweetwaters tarred.

Furthermore, a council vehicle reserved for her use was reportedly seen campaigning for the ANC during a by-election in the area on Wednesday.

Responding on behalf of Ngubo, Msunduzi Mayor Mike Tarr saidhis deputy “has been advised that she requires six bodyguards because of her security situation —you will be aware that bodyguards work in shifts— to cover the whole 24-hour period. It may be of interest to you that our city administrator and his team, including myself, have been advised that we should have full-time bodyguards.”

Tarr said the municipality wis sticking to the overtime policy and is looking into how the 152 overtime hours came about.

“It is often cheaper to pay 40 hours overtime rather than appoint another person.

“With regard to the tarring of the road, this is a road that serves a whole community, not only the deputy mayor, and was on the previous IDP [integrated development plan] well before she came to be in this position,” Tarr added.

Inkatha Freedom Party caucus leader Dolo Zondi, who is the ward councillor where Ngubo lives, has denied that the road along Ngubo’s house was outstanding on the IDP list.

“It’s not true. This is a clear case of the abuse [of power],” he said.

Zondi said there are many other items that have not been attended to although they have been on the IDP list for years, adding that the community is being deprived.

He said he has no problem with the tarring of the road, but that the proper pro­cess must be followed because residents will blame him for prioritising the road over other outstanding items.

Zondi was dismayed when he saw municipal officials using three municipal back-up vehicles to campaign for the ANC in the run-up to last Wednesday’s by-election in Sweetwaters, he told The Witness.

He said he managed to speak to one of the officials, who told him he was merely carrying out the instructions of his superior.

Asked who the superior was, Zondi said: “I think that’s fairly obvious. I will compile a report about this because this benefits the ANC, not the municipality.”

Zondi said the executive committee (Exco) was not given any report about the increase in the number of bodyguards, and although Ngubo lives in an IFP ward, no one from the party wants to cause her any harm.

“Intelligence must compile a report so that Exco can know who poses a danger, because it’s not the IFP,” he said.

Democratic Alliance caucus leader Bill Lambert said: “I was unaware of all of this and I am absolutely horrified.”

Hewent on: “All we are doing is going back to where we’ve come out of … [and] I’ll be very disappointed if it proves to be true.”

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