Acting Umgeni Water chief executive appointed

2017-06-27 21:28
Nomvula Mokonyane (Beeld)

Nomvula Mokonyane (Beeld)

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Durban - General manager for operations at Umgeni Water, Msizi Cele, has been appointed as acting chief executive following the recent suspension of Msizi Gamede, who faces corruption allegations, the Water and Sanitation department said on Tuesday.

Gamede, who has headed up Umgeni Water for nearly five years, was suspended during an urgent board meeting in Pietermaritzburg on June 13, after an anonymous email alleging he was corrupt was circulated to a number of key stakeholders.

Cele has also been appointed as the accounting authority, “given the absence of a board (of Umgeni Water) to steer the ship during this transition,” said Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane, in a statement.

This appointment was made with a stated proviso that Cele may not take any decisions pertaining to the business of the board without consulting Mokonyane, who is the executive authority until a new board is appointed, the department said.

On May 9, Mokonyane withdrew an application to appeal a judgment of the Kwazulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg, in the matter of Makhanya vs The Minister of Water and Sanitation and Mhlathuze Water board.

The Mhlathuze Water board was taken to court by Mhlathuze’s suspended CEO Sibusiso Makhanya, who accused chairperson Dudu Myeni of "capturing" the water authority and Mokonyane of extending the board’s service by six months in February, 2015 after its term expired.

Mokonyane had also reportedly again in July the same year extended the board’s service for an indefinite period.

The court had in December ruled that the board had to be replaced. The board was disbanded in May this year.

The judgment in the above case had determined that the minister did not possess the necessary legislative powers to extend the term of office of board members beyond the maximum prescribed period as per the National Water Services Act (Act 108 of 1997).

“That case’s judgment has bearing on the current term of office of the board of Umgeni Water, whose term expires on 30 June 2017, following a four year extension previously granted from July 1, 2013," the department explained.

The minister has since informed the Umgeni Water board that she will not be extending its term further and that a process to appoint a new board will commence as a matter of urgency.

Mokonyane has also been briefed on serious allegations that have been made against Gamede, various executives and members of the board.

"I have initiated a forensic investigation into the serious allegations of financial mismanagement, tender irregularities and manipulation of recruitment processes made at Umgeni Water and will await the outcomes of this investigation and will be informed by its conclusions on what actions ought to be taken,” she said.

Read more on:    nomvula mokonyane  |  water

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