Metro Police head, Eugene Nzama File picture: S'bonelo Ngcobo/ANA Pictures
Durban - Plans appear to be in place to push metro police head Eugene Nzama into early retirement.

Nzama, who has been at loggerheads with the city for some time now, is expected to be given a golden handshake of more than R10 million, according to the DA.

He is left with six-and-a-half years until retirement and, according to Zwakele Mncwango, DA provincial leader, Nzama’s position is worth about R1.5 to R1.8 million a year.

Mncwango has accused the eThekwini ANC leadership of using this recess period, the past three weeks, to collapse the municipality.

“In their attempt to get rid of all the senior officials that were seen to be in former mayor James Nxumalo’s faction, it’s alleged that the mayor (Zandile Gumede) has forced Nzama to take a golden handshake of more than R10m without the council’s executive committee’s approval,” Mncwango said.

He believed that these “camps” were derailing the municipality’s functions.

“The issue here is that the mayor is fighting with individuals and this results in the disruption of services.

“She (mayor) is not being honest with the citizens and the municipal officials. The council was in recess when she fired former city manager S’bu Sithole last year.

“The council is in recess now (which ends on Tuesday) and she is negotiating an exit package for Nzama. This is totally unacceptable and we will challenge it,” Mncwango said.

He said Nzama had been targeted because he wanted to implement the recommendations of the forensic report which exposed the procurement of 51metro police vehicles without his consent. The report recommended that those responsible be charged.

Mncwango said Nzama was seen as a rebel.

Gumede said it would be difficult for her to comment because these were administrative issues.

City manager Sipho Nzuza confirmed there were negotiations on Nzama’s early retirement, but would not confirm the figure involved.

“Apparently, it has been his request to go into early retirement,” the city manager said.

When asked to confirm the more than R10m payout, Nzuza said a figure was in place, but this was still under discussion by the lawyers of both parties.

Earlier this year, Nzama filed a high court application against the eThekwini Municipality and then acting municipal manager Dumisile Nene, for allegedly undermining his authority and “changing the roles of police officers to security guards” for the protection of certain councillors’ premises and areas in the city hall.

Nzama asked the court to order the city and Nene to “recognise, respect and restore” his roles and responsibilities, as well as to nullify and reverse administrative decisions that were made without consulting him. But the city and Nene opposed his application.

The matter is still before the court.

Nzama had not commented on his early retirement at the time of publication.

Another top official, Dr Musa Gumede, deputy city manager: community and emergency services, was leaving the city at the end of the month after resigning, while Thembinkosi Ngcobo, head of parks and recreation, was suspended on Friday, Nzuza confirmed.

Ngcobo confirmed the suspension and said he was still looking into it.

“They indicated that this was in connection with the cancellation of the Social Cohesion Conference last month. The process and the allegations are fundamentally flawed. That’s all I can say for now,” Ngcobo said.

On Sunday, Gumede also confirmed his resignation. He said he had applied for a position in December, and was appointed.

He would not say where he was going to. “I’ll still be within the province. My move has got nothing to do with whatever people may think is the reason for my leaving,” he said.

The municipality has seen a number of axings and resignations recently.

Sandile Maphumulo, head of electricity, was fired; Nokhana Moerane, head of legal services, resigned; and Dr Nomakhosi Gxagxisa, head of health, was suspended amid allegations of misconduct and leadership irregularities.

IFP leader Mdu Nkosi said: “There’s no stability in the eThekwini administration because of the internal squabbles within the ANC. If this is not arrested, this will collapse the municipality.”

Nzuza said: “These high-profile resignations and dismissals will definitely put a strain on municipal operations, which will impact on service delivery.

“Unfortunately, these decisions to resign have been taken by individuals and it’s not easy to change their minds. I tried to stop them from leaving, but I failed,” he said.

Daily News