Municipal Manager to be suspended

Beleaguered Msunduzi Municipal Manager (MM) Sizwe Hadebe’s days are numbered after the ANC provincial leadership instructed that a special full council meeting be convened and that the MM be suspended.
Council Speaker, Jabu Ngubo, is expected to cut short the mid-year recess and summon councillors to the special full council meeting next week to suspend Hadebe. Ahead of this motion, full council will have to rescind its previous decision to keep the MM in his position pending the outcome of an independent investigation.
On Sunday, leaders of the Provincial Task Team (PTT), including convenor Sihle Zikalala and co-ordinator Mike Mabuyakhula, met with the Msunduzi ANC caucus instructing them to suspend the manager based on Mayor Themba Njilo’s report presented at the last full council meeting.
One of the ANC councillors present at Sunday’s tense meeting said the directive from the PTT has finally given the caucus clear leadership on how to deal with the contentious matter.
“This matter has dragged on for too long and has deeply divided the ANC caucus. Many councillors were unhappy that a senior municipal official was suspended and dismissed so swiftly yet the manager remained in his position despite the damning allegations being made,” said the councillor.
Capital Newspapers can also reveal that apart from the MM being suspended, an investigation will also be launched into all alleged irregular tenders awarded and that the city’s Expanded Public Works job creation project will also be reviewed.
The ANC’s about-turn on Hadebe’s position follows months of political wrangling and scathing criticism that the manager remained in his position despite two audio-clips circulating on social media apparently of Hadebe allegedly meddling with senior job appointments and the awarding of certain tenders.
Mayor Themba Njilo was singled out for failing to act but eventually tabled a report on the matter to full council last month where a decision was taken to institute the probe but not suspend Hadebe.
Opposition parties slammed the decision at the time not to suspend Hadebe.
“These are very serious allegations and the MM should have been placed on precautionary suspension pending the investigation. His presence at the municipality (during the investigation) will jeopardise the entire process. We are disappointed that some ANC councillors who previously supported the suspension of the MM have now closed ranks and voted to keep the MM in his position,” said Gerome Majola, the DA caucus leader at the last full council meeting.
Mayor Njilo welcomed the tabling of his report saying the process would allow the restoration of citizen confidence in the city’s leadership.
“I am happy that the report was finally tabled before Council as we were accused of dragging our feet and not taking a hard stance. The report was comprehensive.”
In his report to full council, Mayor Njilo said he had received a petition from various senior managers which was sent to the minister of local government, Dr Zweli Mkhize, and the MEC for local government, Nomsa Dube. The managers alleged “administrative malfeasance apparently taking place at Msunduzi Municipality by or at the behest of the city manager”.

  AUTHOR
Capital Media Reporter

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