Call to suspend Hadebe

2018-04-19 16:49
Msunduzi Municipal Manager Sizwe Hadebe.

Msunduzi Municipal Manager Sizwe Hadebe. (File)

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Wednesday's financial services portfolio committee meeting disintegrated into chaos as councillors demanded the suspension of City manager Sizwe Hadebe pending an investigation into allegations against him.

The councillors accused Mayor Themba Njilo of dragging his feet in dealing with the numerous allegations that have been made about Hadebe.

“With due respect you keep promising us that you are going to take the necessary measures to discipline him or suspend him but up until today he has not been suspended,” said ANC councillor Mehmood Oumar.

The Witness has reported extensively on the allegations, including a petition that was sent by the senior managers to the provincial and national ministries about the situation at Msunduzi, and recently a senior official, alleged to be Hadebe, being caught on an audio recording allegedly giving an instruction to his subordinate to manipulate job interview scores in favour of a particular candidates.

“How do we then trust the same person who has all these allegations against him to look after the monies of the ratepayers? How do you have a person that has allegation after allegation against him and you don’t suspend him?,” Oumar asked Njilo.

DA caucus leader Sbongiseni Majola said the allegations against Hadebe are not only of a criminal nature but also a breach of the code of ethics, and financial misconduct.

“Failing to fulfil your commitment in terms of dealing with these issues has compromised us as councillors and has compromised this municipality, therefore honourable mayor, we have been patient enough, we cannot go further than this and the trust in you has been tainted,” he said.

DA councillor Ross Strachan said he has always believed that Njilo is a good man, but he is also starting to doubt him. “You don’t want to go down in history as a mayor that let this ship sink,” he warned.

The DA’s Bongumusa Nhlabathi said they want Njilo to tell them what he plans to do as political head of the City.

The IFP’s Thinasonka Ntombela said: “We have trust in you but with the things that are happening, it looks like you are going to end up as one of those we don’t trust if you are seen to be protecting the wrongdoers.”

ANC councillor Sandile Dlamini said they cannot ignore the allegations that have been brought against Hadebe because they compromise the municipality. He also wanted an explanation on why City spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha told the media that Msunduzi will be taking disciplinary action against the person who recorded the conversation with a man suspected to be Hadebe.

“What I understand with this municipality is that whistleblowing is encouraged. People are encouraged to come forward with information on any wrongdoing,” said Dlamini.

He said there are many irregularities that are slowly coming out which need to be dealt with and attempting to gag those with information will not help the City. One of the issues is that the municipal manager is not getting paid as per the salary scale, he said. He alluded to the fact that Hadebe might be being paid more than what is due to him.

Njilo said he is attending to the matter and he has referred it to the legal department. He said his plan is for the matter to be brought before the full council on Wednesday to decide on the direction of the investigation.

“The municipal manager has to be suspended before you even bring it to full council. You have to do the honourable thing and suspend him,” said Oumar.

His sentiments were echoed by other councillors who said Hadebe needs to be suspended if there is an investigation pending to rule out any possibility of interference with the evidence.

Dlamini said they also want to know about the investigation into the allegations that were made by the senior managers about Hadebe to the provincial and national ministries.

“How do you investigate with him sitting in the office because if there is evidence that you might need from general managers, I think you won’t get it because they might be scared,” he said.

The DA proposed that a special full council be called within 48 hours to deal with the allegations before Wednesday.

Councillor Mlungisi Zondi asked for the ANC to go on a brief caucus and the meeting was adjourned immediately afterwards.

Numerous attempts to contact Hadebe for comment on Wednesday were unsuccessful.


Read more on:    msunduzi municipality  |  pietermaritzburg  |  sizwe hadebe

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