Umvoti: outgoing mayor warns ANC successor of litigation risk

2011-06-03 00:00

FORMER Umvoti (Greytown) mayor and Inkatha Freedom Party Umvoti constituency leader Petros Ngubane has warned his successor, Philani Godfrey Mavundla, not to expose the council to possible litigation following the recent suspension of two senior council officials on Tuesday.

The ANC’s Mavundla took everyone by surprise on Tuesday when he convened an executive committee (Exco) meeting shortly after its inauguration and announced the suspensions and the institution of investigations into the financial affairs of the municipality.

The two officials, chief financial officer Sipho Ndabandaba and supply chain manager Zakithi Magubane, were suspended by the newly-elected executive committee less than an hour after the installation of the new council.

The Exco also took a decision to investigate more than R800 000 in transport costs incurred by Ngubane during his tenure as mayor between September 2008 and May 2011.

Reacting to the story published yesterday, Ngubane described Mavundla as a person who does not understand how local government and governance in general works.

“His attitude and utterances during the inauguration function, especially boasting about his financial prowess, leave a lot to be desired.

“He exposed his lack of governance operations by organising an Exco meeting without an agenda and by not following proper procedures when suspending the two officials, which opened the council up to litigation.

“The termination of contracts for consultants and contractors might well open this council to litigation. He is using grudges and unfounded allegations as the basis for his erroneous action …

“It was uncalled for and [irregular] for the mayor to sign the suspension letters as this borders on political interference with administration work,” Ngubane said.

He denied that corruption had occurred during his tenure and said that only a few minor errors were discovered by two firms that conducted audits for the council, “which we were still in the process of correcting until the end of our term of office”.

“It was agreed that the new council will pursue recommendations made by the audit firms.”

However, Ngubane welcomed the investigation into the R800 000 in transport costs he had incurred, saying all the costs were justified.

He commended Mavundla for opting to use his own transport and offering not to take some perks that go with the mayoral position, as well as his decision to become a full-time mayor.

Ngubane rejected the council’s decision to make three Exco positions full-time because of the financial implications for the council, and pointed out that previously only the speaker has been a full-time councillor in Umvoti.

Today Mavundla convenes the first full sitting of the council at which the recent developments will be announced to the councillors.

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