Interim board appointed to embattled Umgeni Water

Nomvula Mokonyane. (Supplied)
Nomvula Mokonyane. (Supplied)

Durban – Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane appointed an interim board to the Umgeni Water Board in KwaZulu-Natal, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The board's appointment was endorsed by the Cabinet at a meeting held on September 27, Department of Water and Sanitation spokesperson Shami Harichunder said in a statement.

The board members are Ziphozethu Mathenjwa (chairperson), Nompumelelo Chamane, Visvin Reddy, David Dikoko, Zodwa Manase, Tshidi Hatashe and Midiavhathu Tshivhase.

"The interim board will act as the accounting authority of Umgeni Water until the minister of water and sanitation appoints a new board," Harichunder said.

"It will have full responsibility for governance at Umgeni Water and in order to assist in conducting its work, board subcommittees, including an audit committee, have been reconstituted."

Umgeni Water is the second largest water board in the country with an annual turnover of more than R2.4bn and a five-year capital expenditure budget of roughly R7bn.

Mokonyane 'destabilised' board

Mokonyane dissolved Umgeni Water's board in June after chief executive Cyril Gamede was suspended pending an investigation into corruption allegations.

Gamede subsequently left the organisation.

In September, City Press reported that the water board would soon be in need of a R3bn bailout because Mokonyane had destabilised it.

In a letter to Mokonyane, lawyers acting for asset manager Futuregrowth accused the minister of illegally appointing Msizi Cele as both Umgeni's acting chief executive and accounting officer; illegally replacing Cele with Thami Hlongwa in both positions; and giving herself the power to appoint chief executives.

Futuregrowth, a division of Old Mutual, acts as an agent for a number of companies that hold bonds issued by Umgeni Water.

Mokonyane denied the allegations lodged against her, saying there was no truth to the reports.


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