Are council heads about to roll?

2010-02-18 00:00

THE rumour mill is in overdrive in the Msunduzi Municipality regarding the departure of Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo and Deputy Mayor Mervin Dirks.

The grapevine has it that Hlat­shwayo is on her way out as mayor and that Dirks resigned this week. However, Hlatshwayo, Dirks and the secretary of the ANC in the Moses Mabhida region, Super Zuma, laughed off the claims.

Employees at the municipality alleged to The Witness that Hlatshwayo is expected to be redeployed from her mayoral position in the near future and that it was unclear where she is going to be moved.

Regarding Dirks, they claimed he instructed his personal assistant to draft a letter of resignation. However, sources that spoke to The Witness claim that Dirks was asked by councillors to rescind his resignation.

The Witness understands that one of the ANC Youth League’s special resolutions in the region following their congress in September was that the whole of the council’s Executive Committee (Exco) should be recalled.

Reasons cited were that the municipality was not fulfilling the political objective of delivering services.

The rumours were fuelled once more earlier this week by the damning announcement made by KZN MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube, on Monday that the council had enough money to fund only a week’s operations.

Hlatshwayo said yesterday that the ANC had not notified her of any redeployment, citing that the party would have told her if such a decision was taken.

Dirks vehemently denied resigning. He said he was deployed by the ANC in the municipality to serve a term and would wait on his party to decide where he goes next.

Zuma said he knew of no such thing and the rumours were news to him.

Councillors and employees alike, who spoke to The Witness on condition of anonymity, also questioned why there are no plans to reprimand senior managers who are responsible for the council’s financial mismanagement, alluded to by Dube.

Dube said the Provincial Treasury concluded that the council’s net cash flow has deteriorated significantly over the past two years ending in June 30, 2009. The MEC said this is reflected by the net available cash, which fell from R120 million in 2007/08 to R1,7 million in 2008/09.

According to councillors, heads are expected to roll in today’s Exco meeting as the matter of the council’s finances is expected to come up.

The feeling is that to get council’s financial state back on track, managers responsible for the crisis should be fired or suspended.

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