Screaming in council

2019-08-01 16:38
Msunduzi Mayor Themba Njilo. Photo.Ian Carbutt

Msunduzi Mayor Themba Njilo. Photo.Ian Carbutt

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A Msunduzi council meeting nearly disintegrated into chaos when the DA asked Mayor Themba Njilo to step down from his position on Wednesday.

The proposal was put forward by caucus leader Sibongiseni Majola, who said under Njilo’s leadership the City was facing a crisis when it comes to financial management and service deliver but no action was instituted against the wrongdoers.

“It’s very difficult for us to continue to trust the leadership of the mayor when such things keep happening under his watch,” said Majola.

He was responding to the mayor’s monthly report to council, which he said failed to speak to the issues affecting the people of Msunduzi.

He said the document also did not provide any progress report on pending disciplinary actions against the likes of suspended municipal boss Sizwe Hadebe and others.

His sentiments were echoed by DA veteran Bill Lambert, who said council wanted to know what has happened to the forensic investigation on Clive Lotz.

Lotz is a former manager in the office of the Speaker Jabu Ngubo who was appointed under suspicious conditions after he defected from the DA to the ANC in 2016.

He is alleged to have cost the municipality R40 000 a month in irregular expenditure as he never reported for duty.

“What has happened with the issue of Mr Hadebe, who has been suspended for one year while being paid R200 000 a month with money we don’t have? We need to know,” said Lambert.

ANC councillors took offence when Ross Strachan tried to second Majola’s proposal for Njilo to step down.

Strachan said he believed Njilo was a man of integrity, but who had been compromised.

“His inability to manage the factions within his own [ANC] caucus is compromising this municipality.”

The ANC’s Sphamandla Khumalo rose with a point of order, saying the DA’s motion of no confidence was disingenuous.

“It was incorrect to even propose it because what is in front of us is a report by the mayor and it contains nothing to do with what he’s proposing.”

Khumalo said the council meeting was not the place for such proposals because the DA needed to give notice to Ngubo’s office prior the meeting.

A screaming match ensued with Rachel Soobiah, Sandile Ngubane, Sox Dlamini and other ANC councillors telling Strachan to keep his nose out of ANC matters and focus on why the DA was losing so many councillors defecting to the ruling party.

The ACDP’s Rienus Niemand saved the meeting by explaining that the DA’s proposal was unprocedural.

He echoed Khumalo’s sentiment that a written notice of motion needed to be submitted to Ngubo’s office.

Administrator Sibusiso Sithole agreed with him and also reminded council that the election and removal of the mayor was also governed by the Municipal Structures Act so they should abide by its provisions.

Njilo seemed unfazed by the attempt to remove him from office.

“As long as I’m still a mayor, I’ll make sure that I work day and night to change the lives of our people as mandated by government led by the ANC. Whatever comes, it doesn’t bother me,” he said when the councillors stopped arguing.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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