For the first time since he was implicated in the damning Manase report, Derek Naidoo has broke his silence, saying he had nothing to be stressed about.
“If I was corrupted or took one cent from a contractor it is one cent too many… I’m not worried,” said Naidoo.
As deputy city manager: procurement and infrastructure, Naidoo was one of several top-ranking eThekwini officials implicated in the Manase report which emanated from a forensic probe into irregularities in the municipality’s financial affairs.
However, Naidoo told The Mercury that he was “not stressed about Manase or any other report” because he had not committed any wrongdoing and had no intention of resigning.
“I’m not stressed, I’m not paid to stress… but that’s Derek,” he said.
However, he was stressed about Thursday’s story in The Mercury which said that he was on his way out of the municipality.
“There is serious reputation damage to my person and the council… I’m asking in a humble way, can you please control your pen.
“My story is very simple: I have not quit council. I’m saying I’ve no intention of resigning from council. The whole world thinks I’ve quit,” he complained.
He said following the report he had received “a thousand phone calls” and he now had to explain to his teenage children that “this is not what dad is about”.
Naidoo said he had sacrificed his life, spent time on Robben Island as a political prisoner and lost his brother, Lenny, who was killed.
“All we care about is serving the people in the city,” he said.
On Thursday, he demanded a front-page retraction from The Mercury article because he wanted everyone to know he had no intention of quitting.
However, the original article did not state that he had resigned.
Instead it stated that the municipality’s executive committee had endorsed a decision to terminate Naidoo’s month-to-month contract.
However, when exactly this will happen has not yet been decided.
Municipal manager S’bu Sithole is expected to meet officials implicated in the Manase report on Friday.
This includes Naidoo, head of housing Cogi Pather who has already tendered his resignation, city treasurer Krish Kumar and Jacquie Subban, head of the geographic information and policy unit. Subban is on indefinite sick leave.
Naidoo said that since the Manase report was released two months ago, neither he or any of the others implicated had been “favoured” with a copy of the report.
Sithole had promised to give them copies, but to date he had not even seen the abridged version which had been made public, nor been charged with any wrong-doing.
He said the matter was going through the “council processes”.
Asked whether he felt that the municipality had betrayed him, Naidoo said: “I don’t think the council has betrayed me. I think the press has.”
The abridged version of the Manase report recommended that action be taken against Naidoo, for not complying with supply-chain management policies as well as failure to exercise due care and diligence in dealing with matters before the bid adjudication committee. - The Mercury