Drama as Hadebe gets nod

2017-11-29 13:45
New municipal manager Sizwe Hadebe.

New municipal manager Sizwe Hadebe. (Ian Carbutt)

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Despite fierce resistance from opposition parties, Sizwe Hadebe has controversially been appointed as the city manager.

A council resolution to appoint Hadebe was taken behind closed doors at the City Hall on Tuesday during a hastily convened special full council meeting.

Mayor Themba Njilo confirmed to The Witness afterwards that Hadebe had been appointed.

Sources said the debate during the full council meeting was intense and dramatic. They said opposition councillors fought “tooth and nail” against the appointment.

Some ANC councillors opposed to the appointment of Hadebe apparently snubbed the meeting. However, at about 4.30 pm a burst of clapping from inside the council chamber signalled that the ANC majority had got its way. ANC councillors who had attended the meeting emerged with smiles.

Before the meeting, ANC councillors held their last caucus meeting, which slightly delayed Tuesday’s proceedings.

Opposition parties also asked for their own caucus meeting during the proceedings.

“At the end of the day, we all knew the ANC would win because they have majority. Although there are divisions in the caucus, they went to yesterday’s meeting with one voice. They have held many caucus meetings with regional leaders before the full council, and they knew what was expected of them yesterday [Tuesday],” said an ANC source.

The full council meeting was preceded by an Executive Committee (Exco) meeting, also behind closed doors, in the morning, which recommended Hadebe.

Njilo said Hadebe had scored above all others when the candidates were assessed by a selection panel. According to the selection panel report seen by The Witness, Hadebe scored above the other two shortlisted candidates. They were Dr Ray Ngcobo and Max Moyo.

The report said Moyo, the former uMgungundlovu District municipal manager, was the more “developed”.

However the selection panel opted for Hadebe, who was described as progressing.

The appointment of Hadebe puts an end to the long process to appoint a permanent municipal manager.

The city has not had a permanent municipal manager since Mxolisi Nkosi was suspended in March 2016.

Hadebe has acted on a secondment from the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department (Cogta) since June 2016.

There were questions raised about the legality of his decisions when he had acted for more than six months.

Municipal regulations state that an acting municipal manager cannot act for more than six months without the approval of the Cogta MEC.

The city eventually extended his contract in September, backdated to June, and it will end on Thursday.

The selection panel headed by Njilo finished their work behind schedule and the council had to finalise the appointment of the City manager before Friday.

DA Exco member Glenn McArthur said Hadebe’s track record since he started acting a year ago was dismal.

“We all know about the filth and the vagrants all over the city, which is the result of non-application of by-laws. Managers responsible for this report to him.

“There are senior staff members who have been on suspensions for years now and they are on full pay. He has failed to finalise those processes.

“We believe this appointment is not on the best interest of the ratepayers. Since Hadebe took over, the municipality has regressed from a clean audit to a qualified audit opinion. Our prediction is that, at best, the municipality will get another qualified audit opinion this year,” he said.

McArthur said he believed Moyo would have been a better option, saying he had previously worked at Msunduzi and was more experienced.

DA caucus leader Sibongiseni Majola said the whole selection process was irregular. He said the city did not comply with regulations guiding the appointment of senior managers.

IFP caucus leader Thinasonke Ntombela said his party still believed that the whole process should have been scrapped, and the post should be re-advertised.

He said the whole process was illegal.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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