Third senior municipal official resigns

2014-03-06 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality has been rocked by more high-profile resignations. Deputy municipal manager for infrastructure Thokozani Maseko has become the third senior official to resign in a month.

Maseko’s resignation was confirmed yesterday and follows days after head of marketing and communication Brian Zuma left the municipality, while acting municipal manager for sound governance Skhumbuzo Mpanza left in mid-February.

The rumour mill has been rife at the city hall that the resignations were due to a rift with the municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi, either through personal fall-outs or poor performances.

Maseko was said to have resigned because of the recent business electricity tariff debacle when the city’s commercial sector were up in arms over crippling tariffs. The municipality blamed the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), while Nersa said the situation arose from a misreading of its correspondence. Eventually the tariffs were reversed.

Others speculated that Maseko’s resignation could have been because the municipality received a qualified audit due to the chaos with water meters in the city. The auditor-general was also critical of under spending in the infrastructure budget.

There was less speculation over Zuma’s departure, but city hall insiders feel that the jury is still out on his exit. It was confirmed yesterday that Zuma is to be the new manager for marketing and communications for Maritzburg United Football Club.

Mpanza was said to have left over frustration at always being in acting posts and being overlooked for appointment as deputy municipal manager. For years he was acting deputy municipal manager for economic development, then acting head of sound governance.

Mpanza, who is secretary-general of the South African Civic Organisation (Sanco), said he was now concentrating on his civic work. “I did not fight with anyone. I left because I felt I overstayed my welcome and needed to explore other avenues.”

Maseko said the rumours were regrettable as the issues picked up on — the tariffs and the auditor-general’s report — went to the performance of the entire municipality and not just his departments.

He said he was leaving Msunduzi Municipality with his head held high and confident in the contribution he had made.

Maseko added that a performance audit by independent consultants rated his section as a leading performer. Infrastructure spending at the municipality was also way ahead. Maseko will leave at the end of March and was not ready to discuss his future plans.

Nkosi responded that his office was in receipt of a resignation letter from Maseko. The municipal manager said that no reasons had been given and he was not at liberty to expand on the matter as the appointment of deputy municipal managers and municipal managers is the preserve of the council through its Executive Committee (Exco). Mayor Chris Ndlela, who has been on sick leave, could not be contacted and did not respond to a SMS sent to him by the time of going to press.

Opposition parties expressed their surprise at Maseko’s sudden and unexpected resignation. The matter is still to come before Exco.

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