Mannya makes explosive claims against Ndebele

2009-07-29 00:00

SUSPENDED head of the KZN Agriculture Department, advocate Modidima Mannya, who faces dismissal after being found guilty of 16 charges in a disciplinary hearing, has thrown down the gauntlet to former premier S’buo Ndebele.

Yesterday he made public a letter he sent to Ndebele in February containing explosive allegations. These include a claim that prime coastal land earmarked for the Macambini/Dubai tourism project was to be sold for $1 to the developers. The project, which led to widespread protests along the N2, was said to involve the removal of over 8 000 families.

Mannya is challenging his dismissal in court, claiming that the disciplinary charges against him were “trumped up” to punish him for refusing to obey alleged “unlawful and illegal instructions.

He says: “I am writing this letter basically to appeal to your conscience for you to step down as minister.”

Ndebele is the national Transport minister, but was premier at the time the letter was written.

On the Macambini/Dubai project, which was mired in controversy, Mannya writes:

“Whilst in a meeting we were presented with a draft agreement. I raised a number of objections. Let me repeat some of the objections I raised in Dubai:

“• Provision was made for the provincial government to spend $30 000 (R300 000 000) per annum for the marketing of the project. I would never understand the logic of this. However, you would be aware of the provisions of section 67 of the Public Finance Management Act. A provincial government may not bind itself to any future financial commitment, denominated in foreign currency.

“• Provision was made for the land to be sold at $1. I am certain

that you know that the land in question is tribal land and cannot be alienated. You also know that government is not the owner of the land. I do not understand why we could sell land we did not own.

• Provision was made for government to clear all settlements, graves etc. Mr Minister, I would kill, if need be, to protect my ancestral graves. Until then, I thought of you as someone who respects and understand our culture, heritage and the sensitivity of our cultural practices.

“Outside of this draft agreement, I was particularly required to give an undertaking that an environmental impact authorisation will be granted. This is not only illegal, but also illogical. An authorisation can only be issued once there is an application and it meets all the requirements.

“For your interest, when I further objected to this blatant corruption, I was told who was to be bribed and how much each bribe would be. Mr Minister, this whole thing is ethically, morally and legally reprehensible. I understand why you sub-contracted your responsibility to Mbanjwa to ensure my persecution.”

On the over-expenditure in the Agriculture Department under former head Jabulani Mjwara, the letter reads: “What still has to emerge is who else knew and was part of discussions which resulted in that over-expenditure. When this comes out, we will know and understand why, despite serious allegations of financial misconduct were levelled against him, you authorised a re-determination of his contract. Of course he later had to go to court to get his money.”

The letter goes on to raise several other allegations and can be downloaded here.

Logan Maistry, spokesman for Ndebele, said yesterday: “Advocate Mannya left the Eastern Cape provincial government under a cloud of controversy. He was suspended by former premier Sibusisio Ndebele in KwaZulu-Natal. He is now being dismissed by KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize. This in itself speaks volumes. All further queries should be directed to the KZN provincial government.”

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