Protesters call for removal of Umvoti leadership

2019-09-25 06:01
photo: andile sithole Members of the NFP and residents marching in Greytown on Monday, September 23.

photo: andile sithole Members of the NFP and residents marching in Greytown on Monday, September 23.

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THE ALLEGED mismanagement of funds, looting and corruption costing the ratepayers millions of rands were the top grievances raised by protesters at a march in Greytown on Monday, September 23.

More than 2 000 residents and members of the National Freedom Party (NFP) took to the streets of Greytown to demand that the top management at Umvoti Municipality be removed with immediate effect.

Newly appointed NFP councillor Philani Mavundla and NFP provincial leaders led the march to the Greytown CBD to raise their concerns about the alleged looting of municipal resources and the municipality.

The protesters, carrying placards with messages that read “Stop Corruption; Mayor Must Go; We Want Refuse Bags”, sang revolutionary songs and demanded change in the leadership of the municipality.

In their memorandum, the NFP accused the managers and the mayor of Umvoti Municipality of bringing the municipality into disrepute by looting ratepayers’ money.

The protesters accused the management of the municipality of the unlawful awarding of tenders that were not advertised.

The march was also in support of a woman who was allegedly raped at the Mayoral House last week.

According to a statement issued to the media, the NFP said the senior management of Umvoti Municipality has been and remains compromised.

“This is due to critical role players such as the mayor [Thami] Ngubane and municipal manager Sphindile Ngiba being key beneficiaries of unlawfully awarded tenders. The most alarming being a R12 million tender being awarded for the provision of private security for Ngiba and four other senior leaders of the municipality.

“We further lament the awarding of a tender costing R11 340 163, 74 for the personal security of the mayor. This is in continuation with undue benefits that he continues to use and abuse.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 2Most recently and regrettably a municipal council owned house was the scene of a high-profile case involving one of the local residents. At the heart of this was the mayor using the municipal resource, it being a house to the benefit of personal friends and family.”

Protesters also complained about the lack of open and transparent tender service for “some of the more lucrative tenders involving the municipality.”

“The aforementioned tenders scale in the region of R23 million yet there was no advertisement on any of the appropriate platforms such as the local newspaper (Greytown Gazette), municipal tender noticeboards, tender bulletins and the municipal website. This was a direct violation of a number of statutes relating to the awarding of tenders at municipal level.

“We highlight the awarding of tenders to Wiseman Training Centre and a company by the name of Siyawakha. These cannot be the only companies linked to corruption. We therefore demand a review into the tenders released related to security, building upgrades and provision of key services to the municipality. We need to be informed as the companies who were granted the permission to do the work, wo the directors of said companies are and whether an open transparent system was in place when such happened. We demand a review into those which have been awarded for the last 24 months to eb placed on appropriate platforms such as the municipal website,” NFP said in a statement.

Councillor Mavundla said a number of municipal employees initially came as the representatives of Cogta and were later given lucrative jobs without following the requisite process of being interviewed and the post meeting the industry standards of fairness.

“The most notable example is the appointment of Municipal Manager[Sphindile Ngiba]. This controversial string of appointments has rendered the municipality weak and subject to looters.”

The NFP demands:

1.Municipal Manager in conjunction with the Local Economic Developemtn Department provide us with information in the Greytown Gazette as to when the process of applications for local businesses will begin.

2.To be provided with the council resolution that grants community projects to be unveiled and promoted as party-specific ideals and assistance (In this case the ANC).

3.The process be fair, transparent and that the community be allowed to partake in the process as observers to ensure that there is no gross misuse of the process.

The memorundum of the NFP details some of the figures showing the alleged corruption in the municpality.

In a statement, the NFP revealed that an amount of R4 233 508, 57 was spent between January and February for the security of the Speaker[Wilson Khoza], CFO, Head of Department of Community Services and the HOD of Municipal Services. Another R7 441 361, 49 was spent between November 26, 2018 to September 3, 2019 for the private security of five individuals, including the Municipal Manager[Sphindile Ngiba], Mr V Mdlalose, Melusi Maphanga and Nozipho Mbhel, and another R1 105 207, 50 that was paid to the security of the municipal officers between March 26 and August 21.

Mavundla added: “It is therefore reasonable to demand that the Speaker[Wilson Khoza, Mayor[Thami] Ngubane and the Municipal Manager[Sphindile Ngiba] be removed from council with immediate effect. This form of wastage and abuse of ratepayers’ money has been clearly facilitated by them who are the chief beneficiaries alongside their close friends,”

The Greytown Gazette established that other shops in town were closed due to the protest.

Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said: “We can confirm the march that started on Monday morning. The march [was] legal and peaceful. Police [were] at the scene to monitor.”

Spokesperson for Umvoti Municipality Phindile Phungula said: “We can confirm the receipt of the memorandum by the Speaker[Wilson Khoza]. The leadership is still going to go through its content so that they can adequatley respond to the memorandum.”

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