- The return of Sipho Nzuza to his duties as the City Manager in the eThekwini Metro is perfectly legal, the municipality says.
- Nzuza will meet Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda to discuss a way forward for him so that he does not breach his bail conditions.
- Opposition party, the DA, has criticised Nzuza's return to office.
The return of embattled eThekwini City Manager Sipho Nzuza is perfectly legal, the municipality says.
"Following the expiry of City Manager Sipho Nzuza's special leave, he is legally entitled to resume his duties," the eThekwini Metro said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.
Spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said that after Nzuza was arrested, he was suspended for three months in accordance with disciplinary regulations governing senior managers.
"This was to make way for an independent investigation by the KZN provincial treasury on a different matter where there were allegations of violating supply chain processes."
Mayisela said that, according to the progress report on the investigation, tabled by eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, "there have been delays in finalising the investigation, partly due to [the] Covid-19 lockdown as well as the unavailability of some of the material documents."
"The special leave, which was granted to Nzuza after the expiry of the suspension came to an end on 25 September 2020. Kaunda, will meet with Nzuza to discuss how is he going to perform his duties against the background of his bail conditions."
Nzuza is one of the 17 people accused alongside former eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede in a R430 million Durban Solid Waste tender corruption case.
DA councillor Nicole Graham was scathing in her criticism of Nzuza's return.
"The reality is that the ball has been completely dropped and that the municipality has no grounds left to not allow Nzuza back to work. This is because the investigations that should have been completed have not been completed and there are no legal avenues left to keep Nzuza away from City Hall."
She pointed out that the charges related, in part, to supply chain management issues and his bail conditions prevent him from involvement in any such processes.
"By its very nature, the municipal manager role is that of an accounting officer," she said.
Graham said the ANC voted down the DA's proposal to delegate supply chain powers to chief financial officer, Krish Kumar.
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