Ehlanzeni municipal manager Hugh Mbatha must be suspended for allegedly stealing municipal funds, the DA said on Wednesday.
Democratic Alliance Ehlanzeni district council leader Gravett Herbst said in a statement that Mbatha should be immediately suspended and the municipality should press criminal charges against him.
On Monday, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said Mbatha misappropriated municipal funds when he failed to return money sent to him and other delegates during a 2008 business trip to Italy.
The officials claimed that their luggage had been lost and asked for additional funds because “they ran short of money”.
On their return, they did not account for the expenditure and the balance of the R120,000 was divided among the delegates and Mbatha.
Madonsela said: “By dividing the balance of R120,000 amongst the delegates, the municipal manager misappropriated municipal funds.
“He did not act with honesty, fidelity and in the best interest of the municipality....”
Herbst said the DA submitted an urgent motion to the speaker of the council that the matter be debated on Tuesday, at the council's next sitting.
“Our motion calls for the immediate pressing of theft charges against advocate Mbatha and to suspend him pending the outcome of the investigation.”
The position of municipal manager should be entrusted only to a person of high ethical and moral standing, Herbst said.
“The DA will not idly stand by and watch as municipal resources are plundered while the people of Mpumalanga cry out for basic services.”
The municipality would not immediately comment on the matter. - Sapa