‘City needs clean slate’

2018-07-18 16:00
Msunduzi's Municipal Manager Sizwe Hadebe.

Msunduzi's Municipal Manager Sizwe Hadebe. (File)

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Msunduzi officials are cautiously optimistic that council will take decisive action on the allegations against City boss Sizwe Hadebe at Thursday’s special meeting.

This comes after the surfacing of unconfirmed reports that the ANC provincial leadership has instructed the Moses Mabhida Region to suspend Hadebe pending an investigation.

Meanwhile the 2 800 officials who are members of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) have instructed the organisation to push for Msunduzi to be placed under administration even if Hadebe is suspended.

“The only way to deal with the rot is to dissolve the council because there is an obvious lack of political will to deal with corruption because some councillors are involved,” said one of senior managers.

He said in his nine years with Msunduzi the City has never been exposed to such “life-threatening” looting and that is because council has not heeded the advice of the officials.

His sentiments were echoed by another official who said while the blame has mostly sat on Hadebe’s lap as an accounting officer, the recent scandalous “job-rigging” audio clips carry evidence that some councillors are also responsible for the rot.

“If we [Msunduzi] are to recover from this we need to start on a clean slate and the ANC must then ensure that it deploys credible people to management positions otherwise we have more disclaimer audit opinions coming our way,” she said.

Samwu regional secretary Sbu Molefe said the union wrote to Mayor Themba Njilo calling for Hadebe to be placed under precautionary suspension pending a forensic investigation.

“We have not received a formal response from the mayor but when we inquired with his office we were told that he has forwarded our correspondence with the municipal manager and is awaiting advice.

“To us that seems like sending a chicken to call a gathering to make Kentucky Fried Chicken,” he said.

Molefe said they are concerned that union members who speak up against wrongdoing are victimised by being unfairly persecuted.

He said their members are being forced to sign off on things which they know are illegal and are also blamed for the disclaimer opinion.

“The buck stops with the accounting officer but it is our members who are bearing the brunt of poor decision making at the higher level. The fish rots from the head not the tail.

“Everyone can see that looting is rife in Msunduzi. It’s now a vicious circle of ‘it’s our turn to eat’.

“Those who question the correctness of the instruction are being accused of pouring soil into the looters’ meal,” he said.

Molefe said they are sceptical, but hopeful that the recently formed regional task team will have the political will to deal with corrupt officials and councillors.

“Experience has taught us that politicians say all the right things while they are out in the cold but change their tune the moment they are deployed to positions but we shall wait and see.

“In the meantime we will be taking on anyone who victimises our members,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  sizwe hadebe

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