Is Sithole leaving Msunduzi?

2020-02-14 15:03
Sibusiso Sithole

Sibusiso Sithole

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Is the administrator, Sibusiso Sithole, leaving Msunduzi for the South Coast’s Ugu District?

That was the question on the lips of councillors and officials at the City Hall on Thursday following media reports that he had been appointed as an acting municipal manager for Ugu.

Ugu spokesperson France Nzama confirmed to The Witness that Wednesday’s special council meeting deliberated on the issue of appointing an interim district manager as permanent district boss Dhanpalan Naidoo was away on sick leave. He said council had asked for names of possible candidates from the provincial Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) and Sithole’s name was also on the list.

“At this point there’s no appointment that has been made because Cogta’s concurrence is still needed.

“Council shortlisted a few names and his is amongst those, but that’s just a recommendation because the decision is still Cogta’s on who will end up being the interim municipal manager,” said Nzama.

He said they should know by next week who the department would deploy to the district.

When contacted for comment about whether he would be leaving the City for Ugu, Sithole referred The Witness’ questions to Cogta.

Sithole was deployed by Cogta in April to get Msunduzi back on track. His term has been marred with challenges, including delays in the appointment of his support team.

A council meeting to discuss his turnaround plan was also disrupted by an explosion of a firecracker. This was suspected to be one of the attempts to intimidate him.

On Thursday, high placed sources at City Hall said they also had not heard anything about his possible departure.

They said while his administration had not been a smooth one as he faced resistance and a lack of support from some officials and councillors, they did not think it had got to a point where he wanted out.

“It would be a pity if he leaves now because we had hoped that he would get this municipality back on its feet like he did when we were placed under administration in 2010,” said one of them.

DA caucus leader in Ugu Leonard Ngcobo said he could not comment on the deliberations of council as they were confidential. He said they were keen on getting someone of Sithole’s calibre as an interim accounting officer because they believed that he would steer the ship in the right direction.

“Whoever is appointed as a municipal manager, we will give them the benefit of the doubt and hopefully they will be able to turn things around and prioritise getting service delivery to the people of Ugu because they have been suffering for a long time,” said Ngcobo.

Meanwhile, his colleague in Msunduzi, Sibongiseni Majola, said if Sithole left it would mean that the section 131(1) (b) intervention would have failed dismally and Cogta should consider dissolving council, which was the DA’s initial proposal before the City was placed under administration.

He said Sithole’s intervention had achieved very little in terms of changing the lives of the people of Msunduzi as he had only achieved two percent of the task he was mandated to carry out by Cogta. That was negotiating a settlement for the resignation of the former City boss Sizwe Hadebe.

However, even that matter had not been finalised as Majola said they were yet to receive a report of how much Hadebe owed council. “He hasn’t attempted to implement any of his strategies be it the turnaround strategy or revenue enhancement ...” said Majola.

Cogta spokesperson Senzo Mzila said: “Sithole is still the administrator at the Msunduzi Municipality. If ever this were to change the department would communicate it.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  sibusiso sithole

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