Ruling party bid to get rid of MM

2016-03-09 06:00

A SUDDEN move by the ANC to suspend the Msunduzi municipal manager, Mxolisi Nkosi, for “financial misconduct” has sent reverberations­ through the ­municipality.

There are fears the move could lead to widespread protests by municipal ­employees.

The surprise move came at a full ­council meeting at the city hall last Wednesday, and was built on a notice by Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube that her department wanted to investigate Nkosi for “non-performance and maladministration”.

Msunduzi acting spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said the council welcomed and supported the investigation.

“Council resolved to conduct its own investigation into the alleged financial misconduct by the city manager and has directed the mayor to write to the city manager with an intention to suspend,” she said.

Attempts to contact Nkosi were ­unsuccessful.

The move led to about 100 temporary and full-time municipal workers ­immediately arriving at city hall in support of the municipal manager.

While a few entered the public gallery to listen to proceedings, the majority stayed outside, protesting against the investigation and Nkosi’s possible suspension.

Ironically, it was Cogta that just eight months ago presented Nkosi with an award for being the “Best Performing Municipal Manager in the Province”.

Nkosi has also been widely lauded for turning the municipality around, helping it obtain its first clean audit in years.

The proposal to suspend Nkosi, ­presented by Speaker Babu Baijoo, was only introduced to the council agenda on Wednesday after the ANC held a caucus meeting earlier in the morning.

The ANC then used its majority at the full council meeting to vote that Nkosi be given seven days to write to mayor Chris Ndlela and explain why he should not be suspended.

According to the item, it was to ­“inform council of the investigation” ­initiated by Dube-Ncube.

Dube-Ncube confirmed her ­department was investigating ­“allegations of maladministration and corruption at Msunduzi Municipality”.

“The department has received ­damning allegations brought to its ­attention by various whistle blowers. In order to get to the bottom of these ­allegations, which have the potential to tarnish the good reputation of Msunduzi Municipality, Cogta has resolved to institute an investigation,” she said.

Dube-Ncube said the investigation should not be misconstrued as a ­witch-hunt against any individual.

“Our approach is strictly non-partisan. In ­order to arrive at an independent ­conclusion, we urge everyone, including the media, to desist from speculation and await the outcome,” she said.

ANC regional secretary Mzi Zuma and chairperson Mthandeni Dlungwane were seen in the gallery, leading to ­widespread speculation by political ­opponents and municipal employees that there was a plot to oust Nkosi.

Zuma refuted allegations of a plot, saying the party leader’s presence was in line with their oversight duties.

“The actual case is that the ­Co-operative Governance Department received allegations of financial ­irregularities. It has nothing to do with the ANC,” he said.

Zuma commended the department’s “commitment to fight corruption”.

Outside city hall, municipal workers threatened to make the municipality “ungovernable” if Nkosi was ousted.

Protester Mthokozisi “Chopho” Gumede said Nkosi was being suspended because he had finalised the allocation of placements in the municipality.

Gumede said Nkosi had also ­committed to starting the process of ­absorbing temporary workers ­contracted by the municipality.

“At the beginning they [ANC] asked Nkosi to take special leave. Now they want to charge him.

“We want them to know that we are ready for war,” he said.

DA caucus leader Bill Lambert said it was the first time he had seen regional ANC executives at a full council meeting and indicated he suspected that, in view of Nkosi’s good track record, “there are hidden agendas here”.

NFP councillor Thokozani Magwaza said the “plot to oust Nkosi” was linked to a provincial battle for power within the ANC.

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