Six hours and two ANC caucus meetings later, Msunduzi’s full council on Wednesday accepted that acting City manager Sizwe Hadebe’s secondment to the post be extended until November. Councillors in the closed and confidential meeting also selected three people who now form the selection panel to oversee the filling the coveted municipal manager’s vacancy. It is believed that Msunduzi mayor Themba Njilo, deputy mayor Thobani Zulu and uMshwati municipal manager Nhlanhla Mbaso make up the selection panel. The special full council meeting was called at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on Wednesday but the meeting was deemed confidential, leaving journalists waiting in the hallway. However sources revealed that Msunduzi councillors were called to discuss a letter sent by the MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Nomusa Dube-Ncube. According to well-placed sources, the letter dated September 12, 2017 informs council that Hadebe’s secondment as acting municipal manager would be extended until November this year. However, City spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha released a statement late on Wednesday saying Hadebe has been seconded as the acting municipality manager from June 9 until the end of November.“His secondment has been granted by the MEC for Cogta, Nomusa Dube Ncube. Msunduzi Municipality’s full council welcomed and endorsed the decision [on Wednesday].”She said the selection panel responsible for the appointment of the municipal manager has been appointed to help speed up and prioritise the matter.Hadebe was not present at the special full council meeting and the Msunduzi general manager for Sustainable Development, Dr Ray Ngcobo, sat in as acting City manager — an act the DA found “questionable”.In a previous article, Mafumbatha said that after his six-month term ended, Hadebe was seconded to the municipality.She said his secondment was approved by the MEC for local government, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, on December 15, 2016 but she did not provide any supporting documents as requested then. At that time, reliable sources were adamant there had been no such approval and said yesterday was the first time a full council discussed Hadebe’s secondment. Deputy leader for the DA in the province Mergan Chetty said that with Ngcobo sitting in as acting municipal manager this “clearly confirmed that the position has been earmarked for Hadebe”.“Hadebe could have been there as acting manager and when they announced what they were discussing, he could have recused himself. “Ray Ngcobo also applied for the job, and him sitting in as acting manager is questionable but it shows that he is most probably set for another job in the district,” Chetty said. He said that DA councillors voted against Hadebe’s secondment as the party “could not support an MEC and the ANC’s intention to regulate an irregular act”. “The City said that the MEC approved his secondment in December and I believe that expired in June. Now the MEC sends a letter in September approving the extension of the appointment. This brings into question whether the decisions he took from June to the date of this letter were lawful? Is this why he hasn’t signed any reports during that interim period? “This is just a way to regulate something that is irregular and we simply cannot support that,” Chetty said. He added that council lost a “golden opportunity” to show their transparency by including two members of any of the opposition parties in the panel to appoint the manager.“The panel allows for a maximum of five people but the council chose to have only three. This was a time to prove that they are transparent by including councillors from outside of the ANC,” he said.