Showdown over Ngcobo

2016-05-06 12:00
Dr Ray Ngcobo.

Dr Ray Ngcobo. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - A showdown between DA councillor Bill Lambert and controversial deputy municipal manager Dr Ray Ngcobo boiled over yesterday when Ngcobo’s two-week acting municipal managing position was questioned.

The war of words erupted at the start of yesterday’s executive committee meeting at City Hall when Lambert expressed his unhappiness at Ngcobo acting as the municipal manager in place of Boniwe Zulu who was reportedly ill.

“I want to express my unhappiness that Ngcobo is acting [as] acting manager in view of the serious allegations of impropriety hanging over him,” Lambert told Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela who chaired the meeting.

He said the position of acting municipal manager was supposed to be filled on a rotational basis and given the fact that Ngcobo filled in for Zulu last week, it should have been someone else in the position this week.

“In normal circumstances, I would leave this meeting but I am remaining to ensure that our business and professional community is protected,” said Lambert.

Lambert’s remarks did not sit well with Ngcobo, who said he found it difficult to understand Lambert’s comments that targeted his credibility.

“You are talking in front of the media in the hopes that I would keep quiet. I find it difficult to understand what you are saying and I suggest we discuss the matter outside of this meeting,” Ngcobo said.

Chairperson of the meeting and city mayor Ndlela tried to calm the two, saying Zulu would be in a better position to explain why Ngcobo was filling in for her.

“As per a full council resolution, the acting municipal manager [Boniwe Zulu] has powers residing with her,” said Ndlela.

Councillor Eunice Majola added her voice to the commotion saying that council had been “defending” this topic for far too long and Lambert needed to address the situation outside of the executive committee meeting.

“Councillor Lambert is being so personal to Ngcobo and this needs to be discussed outside,” she said. Lambert, however continued, demanding an explanation from Ndlela.

“I am protecting the integrity of the city and I still want an explanation,” he said.

Although no explanation was eventually given, Ndlela said the council noted Lambert’s concerns and continued with the items on the agenda.

Ngcobo has disciplinary charges pending against him, an issue highlighted last week when acting municipal manager Boniwe Zulu called for the adjournment of his disciplinary inquiry. The move was deemed illegal, and at that time it was unclear whether the hearing would continue last Thursday and Friday, as scheduled. However, it was revealed this week that ­Ngcobo had not attended any disciplinary ­hearing last week, as he was appointed as acting municipal manager for the week.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality  |  da  |  anc

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