Protesters call for removal of Umvoti leadership

PHOTO: andile sithole Members of the NFP and residents marching in Greytown on Monday, September 23.
PHOTO: andile sithole Members of the NFP and residents marching in Greytown on Monday, September 23.

“MOST recently and regrettably, a municipal council owned house was the scene of a high-profile case involving one of the local residents. At the heart of this was the mayor using the municipal resource, it being a house, to the benefit of personal friends and family,” said the NFP.

Protesters also complained about the lack of open and transparent tender service for “some of the more lucrative tenders involving the municipality”.

“The aforementioned tenders scale in the region of R23 million yet there was no advertisement on any of the appropriate platforms such as the local newspaper (Greytown Gazette), municipal tender noticeboards, tender bulletins and the municipal website. This was a direct violation of a number of statutes relating to the awarding of tenders at a municipal level.

“We highlight the awarding of tenders to Wiseman Training Centre and a company by the name of Siyawakha. These cannot be the only companies linked to corruption.

“We therefore demand a review into the tenders released related to security, building upgrades and provision of key services to the municipality. We need to be informed as to the companies who were granted the permission to do the work, who the directors of said companies are and whether an open, transparent system was in place when such happened.

“We demand a review into those [tenders] which have been awarded for the last 24 months to be placed on appropriate platforms, such as the municipal website,” the NFP said in a statement.

Councillor Mavundla said a number of municipal employees initially came as the representatives of Cogta and were later given lucrative jobs without following the requisite process of being interviewed and the posts meeting the industry standards of fairness.

“The most notable example is the appointment of municipal manager [Sphindile Ngiba]. This controversial string of appointments has rendered the municipality weak and subject to looters.”

The NFP demands include:

1. That the municipal manager, in conjunction with the Local Economic Development Department, provide information in the Greytown Gazette as to when the process of applications for local businesses will begin.

2. To be provided with the council resolution that allows community projects to be unveiled and promoted as party-specific ideals and assistance (in this case the ANC).

3. The process be fair, transparent and that the community be allowed to partake in the process as observers to ensure that there is no gross misuse of the process.

The memorandum details some of the figures showing the alleged corruption in the municipality.

In a statement, the NFP revealed that an amount of R4 233 508, 57 was spent between January and February for the security of the Speaker [Wilson Khoza], CFO, Head of Department of Community Services, and the HOD of municipal services.

Another R7 441 361,49 was spent between November 26, 2018 and September 3, 2019 for the private security of five individuals, including the Municipal Manager, Mr V Mdlalose, Melusi Maphanga, and Nozipho Mbhel; and another R1 105 207,50 was paid to the security of the municipal officers between March 26 and August 21.

Mavundla added: “It is therefore reasonable to demand that the speaker, mayor Ngubane and the municipal manager be removed from council with immediate effect.

“This form of wastage and abuse of ratepayers’ money has been clearly facilitated by them, who are the chief beneficiaries alongside their close friends,”

The Greytown Gazette established that shops in Greytown were closed due to the protest action.

Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said: “We can confirm the march that started on Monday morning. The march [was] legal and peaceful. Police [were] at the scene to monitor.”

Umvoti Municipality spokesperson Phindile Phungula said: “We can confirm the receipt of the memorandum by the Speaker.

“The leadership is still going to go through its content so that they can adequately respond to the memorandum.”

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