Msunduzi manager assaulted

2009-11-12 00:00

A SEVERE beating by a subordinate landed a senior Msunduzi Municipal manager in hospital where he has lain for almost two weeks.

Councillors and most senior staffers at city hall were shocked this week to learn of his plight.

There are accusations that the incident was hushed up because the assailant is close to municipal manager Rob Haswell.

The incident came to light when Democratic Alliance Councillor Bill Lambert went to visit a friend at St Anne’s Hospital. He was surprised to find process manager Rishi Ramharak of the economic development unit lying in one of the wards looking dazed and disorientated. Lambert said he discovered that Ramharak was beaten up by a man who is employed as a temporary worker in the economic development unit.

“I couldn’t believe the executive committee (Exco) were never informed about the incident, which happened in a municipal building and during working hours,” said Lambert.

“I went straight from the hospital to Haswell’s office. He was in a meeting. I spoke to him later and he said he was unaware of the incident because he was on leave at the time.

“He referred me to Skumbuzo Mpanza who had also been on leave at the time. I eventually managed to speak to other senior staffers who were present and discovered that the manager was assaulted for doing his job by refusing to sign documents that were non-compliant with municipal regulations.”

Lambert described the situation as outrageous saying the municipality was worse than the “Wild West”.

He said that when he saw Ramharak, he had been in hospital for more than a week and was still in severe pain.

According to municipal staff, the alleged assailant came into economic development as an intern when Haswell headed the unit and remained on as a temporary worker. He allegedly tells people that he is Haswell’s adopted son and it is believed his mother was once employed by the Haswell family.

Haswell referred all queries to Mpanza, acting deputy municipal manager of economic development, who said his staff have submitted a written report on the incident.

“We are looking at all aspects before deciding on a course of action. We are also in touch with our senior manager, Mr Ramharak, and he is making a slow recovery in hospital.The police are also investigating and we are giving them our full cooperation,” said Mpanza.

It is believed that while an assault charge has been opened at the Loop Street Police Station, the charge could be changed to attempted murder, because Ramharak recently underwent an operation and had pins inserted into his spine. Everyone in the unit knew about this.

It is alleged that during the assault, his back was repeatedly banged against a steel cupboard, which ended up being dented.

Police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan confirmed that the matter is being investigated and that statements from witnesses have been taken.

Jeevan said that as soon as the doctor’s report is received, the case will go to the senior public prosecutor for a decision.

She said that if any other witnesses want to give a statement, they should contact Inspector Amith Ramdass at 083 271 0459.




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