Msunduzi axes top manager

2018-06-28 16:11
Sabatha Nomnganga.

Sabatha Nomnganga. (Supplied)

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The surprise axing of Msunduzi’s head of infrastructure Sabatha Nomnganga sparked chaos in the council chamber on Wednesday.

Some ANC councillors stormed out after disagreements erupted after a report was tabled confirming that Nomnganga had been fired.

His dismissal, which he intends to challenge, comes almost a year after his suspension following allegations of financial misconduct.

He was accused of costing the municipality more than R5 million in fruitless and wasteful expenditure by allegedly paying service providers for work not done.

Nomnganga’s dismissal was tabled as a confidential item by the City manager Sizwe Hadebe, which indicated that the decision was taken on June 7. The report is accompanied by the recommendations from Lucky Nhlabathi, an attorney who was appointed to preside over the disciplinary process.

“Evidence of the two witnesses corroborate the charges and submissions made by the evidence leader. This evidence remain unchallenged,” wrote Nhlabathi.

The council had given power to Nhlabathi to recommend the appropriate sanction after concluding the disciplinary process but Wednesday’s dismissal became a hard pill to swallow for others. About 10 ANC councillors, who are reportedly aligned to the Cyril Ramaphosa faction, walked out of the council meeting.

They, along with the opposition parties, questioned the timing of the decision to fire Nomnganga, saying it was suspicious.

This came after Nomnganga recently confirmed to The Witness that he was part of the teleconference where senior ANC leaders and the administration colluded in the illegal appointment of former DA councillor Clive Lotz as a manager in the office of the speaker.

ACDP councillor Rienus Niemand said he is not disputing the findings of Nhlabathi’s investigation. However, he said he is curious about the urgency of the tabling of the five-page report when council has not been given the comprehensive report.

“From where I’m standing Nomnganga has become a scapegoat. Whether he is guilty or not guilty, the timing for the report is just suspicious because of the audio clip.

“As it is we don’t know what he was eventually charged with and what motivated the presiding officer to recommend that he be fired,” said Niemand.

Majola said the council will never dispute a ruling made against someone who has been found guilty and they will implement the sanctions imposed by the presiding officer.

However, he said they were concerned about the way the matter was handled considering the damning allegations which surfaced in last week’s audio clip. “What’s good for the goose had better be good for the gander because there are still many outstanding disciplinary hearings, including one for the City manager, coming our way,” he said.

According to the local government disciplinary regulations for senior managers, the municipality must report the outcome of the disciplinary hearing to the provincial and national ministries of the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta). Where financial misconduct is involved, the municipality must also report to the MEC for Finance Belinda Scott and the Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu, as prescribed in the Municipal Finance Management Act.

Nomnganga said he is not surprised that he has been dismissed. He said from the beginning his matter was unprocedural and unfair.

“I was supposed to be paid last week but my salary was docked. Thus far I have not even received a letter telling me that I was dismissed,” he said.

He said he is not backing down and will be challenging the matter in court.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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