Msunduzi manager ‘was forced on City’

2019-02-11 13:16
msunduzi city hall

msunduzi city hall (File)

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Former Msunduzi mayor Chris Ndlela has broken his silence on the appointment of the embattled municipal manager Sizwe Hadebe in 2016, saying council was not given a choice in the matter.

He alleged that there was political interference from people who did not even work for the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta).

Ndlela was responding to a recent letter from the spokesperson of KZN Cogta, Lennox Mabaso. He said Mabaso’s statements implicated him and the councillors who served between 2011 and 2016 who initially considered Hadede’s résumé following the suspension of former City boss Mxolisi Nkosi.

“Unfortunately, I am not prepared to be a sacrificial lamb, now or in future,” said Ndlela.

Mabaso had said that Cogta did not choose the heads of administration for municipalities. He said when the vacancy arose in Msunduzi, the municipality asked Cogta for support in line with its constitutional mandate of supporting municipalities.

“Cogta then sourced CVs of potential municipal managers from the national database and handed them over to the municipality.

“It was more than one CV. The municipality on its own accord made a final decision on their preferred candidate,” said Mabaso.

He said Cogta performs oversight on qualifications, compliance and criminal records but the final decisions on secondments of senior municipal staff rest with the municipality.

Ndlela, however, disputed that Msunduzi was given more than one CV when it asked for a secondment for the position of the City’s head of administration.

“Three of the political office bearers, who were present when Mr Hadebe’s CV was handed in, can bear testimony to that, if they so remember/like/wish.

“Only one CV, Mr Hadebe’s, was handed to the municipality, and definitely not by Cogta but by two non-Cogta employees,” he said.

While Ndlela would not go into the contents of Hadebe’s CV, he said it did not even have a copy of an identity document.

As the mayor of Msunduzi at the time, Ndlela was also the chairperson of the executive committee, which made recommendations for council adoption on appointments and other decisions on municipal functions.

However, he denied that he was part of the process to hire Hadebe.

Msunduzi has been grappling with poor service delivery, the possible depletion of council reserves instead of using them to improve the lives of the people of Pietermaritzburg, a high vacancy rate as well as rife institutionalised nepotism and favouritism.

“I am not the reason ... mediocrity is kissed, hugged and embraced in the current Msunduzi administration. No amount of political expediency can successfully put me in the leadership of ‘kakistocracy’,” said Ndlela.

He alleged that there were some political shenanigans that took place in Msunduzi before and after the ANC 2015 provincial conference. These included secret meetings between senior managers and some politicians with certain individuals being promised positions even though they were already filled.

“That has culminated in the disaster the people, investors and visitors of the ‘City of Choice’ are subjected to.

“Fellow Maritzburgers are now facing the reality of [either] allowing a few individuals to determine their future through inconsiderate, selfish and corrupt leaders or stand up and be counted to correct the wrongs of their City,” said Ndlela.

He said the citizens and ratepayers of Msunduzi were literally awaiting on “Cogta for support in line with its constitutional mandate of supporting municipalities”, including the finalisation of the disciplinary proceedings of Hadebe and other former and current implicated employees as well as politicians, as allegations of malfeasance were continuously flying thick and fast.

In his parting shot the former mayor quoted the late SACP leader Eric “Stalin” Mtshali saying the people of Pietermaritzburg must “guard against and avoid subjecting yourself to the leadership that has an excessive and uncontrollable love for money”.

On Friday, Mabaso said Cogta stood by its initial statement that municipalities had a prerogative to interview and appoint municipal managers.

“They make their own independent decisions to appoint or reject candidates and have their own approval processes including council resolutions.”

He said the department respected Ndlela’s views and held him in high esteem.

“We may not be privy to some of the details alluded in the former mayor’s response, especially if they happened beyond the confines of Cogta,” said Mabaso.

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