Sithole named to replace Mettler as city administrator

2011-02-02 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube has appointed Sibusiso Sithole as the new administrator to take over the task of turning the struggling Msunduzi Municipality around.

Speaking during a press briefing at the city hall yesterday, Dube said Sithole brings with him vast knowledge of local government.

Sithole (44) has been appointed for three months until a new council takes over the reins after the local government elections later this year.

He is tasked with accelerating the implementation of service delivery and ensuring that a sustainable exit strategy will be developed and executed, said Dube.

“Mr Sithole was appointed as the administrator of Okhahlamba Municipality in December 2009, and since then he has addressed and resolved many of the challenges at Okhahlamba Municipality,” said Dube.

“He is a seasoned local government practitioner. Sithole became one of the youngest city administrators [aged 31] in 1997 when he was appointed deputy chief executive officer-town clerk of Durban Metropolitan Council. He rose to become the town clerk in 1999.”

He was appointed deputy city manager and acted as a city manager for seven months in 2002.

“I am confident that the municipality will accept the appointment of Mr Sithole as the administrator and will co-operate with him to ensure the success of the intervention and the implementation of a sustainable exit strategy that will leave the municipality well equipped to prevent any further formal intervention by the provincial executive,” said Dube.

She commended the outgoing administrator, Johann Mettler, whose tenure ended on Monday after his appointment in April last year.

“During the tenure of Mr Mettler we have recorded considerable successes. In a nutshell, Mr Mettler played a critical role in ensuring that the municipality remained on its feet so that a transit process to normality was implemented.

“Mr Mettler has been requested back by the South African Local Government Association (Salga) to assist in the preparation of the 2011 local government elections.

“We thank him for his dedication and commitment to the objectives of the intervention,” said Dube.

Officials implicated in the municipality’s forensic investigation will face civil, criminal or disciplinary action, said Dube.

She played down concerns about the slow pace of the investigations, saying the issues are subject to the principles of justice.

Council structures have been revised to ensure that transparency, accountability and democracy are central in the decision-making process, said the MEC.

Sithole, who described himself as soft-hearted but hard when he wants issues addressed, said that there will be continuity from what Mettler had undertaken, and that the current investigati

ons will be finalised.

“Those are fundamental issues that ratepayers need us to respond to. We will take care of our mandate which is to speed up service delivery,” he said.

Sithole said he will spend this week meeting internal and external stakeholders as well as opposition parties.

Mayor Mike Tarr said Sithole will take over from where Mettler left off, adding that Sithole’s statement that he will continue with the investigations is music to his ears.

Democratic Alliance caucus leader Bill Lambert said his party will support Sithole’s endeavours to complete the turnaround strategy and bring Pietermaritzburg back to being the City of Choice.

Lambert commended Mettler, saying that the turnaround strategy was just beginning to bear fruit. “Mr Mettler and his team have done a wonderful job to bring a degree of stability to our organisation,” Lambert added.

Inkatha Freedom Party caucus leader Dolo Zondi said his party welcomes Sithole’s appointment, but that the timing is bad because Mettler was supposed to complete his task.

“We trust his credentials,” Zondi said of Sithole.

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