Umgeni chief Thami Hlongwa resigns, just weeks before annual results
DURBAN – The chief executive of South Africa’s second-largest water utility Umgeni Water, Thami Hlongwa, has resigned with immediate effect this week just weeks before the entity’s release of its annual performance results.
In a SENS statement released on behalf of the Board of Umgeni Water chairperson Magasela Mzobe advised stakeholders that the Board of Umgeni Water had received the resignation of its current chief executive, Thamsanqa Hlongwa on Tuesday. The board said it had accepted the resignation.
Hlongwa’s letter was said to have not disclosed his reasons for quitting, hence it could be assumed that he would be pursuing personal interests.
He had been appointed acting group chief executive in September 2017 and then chief executive in July 2018. Prior to that, the entity was caught up in corruption allegations.
The resignation comes hot on the heels of a new board appointed to Umgeni Water to strengthen its governance.
In January 2019 President Cyril Ramaphosa ordered a high-level Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe into the affairs of Umgeni Water. Ramaphosa reportedly authorised a proclamation giving the SIU authority to investigate “allegations of unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure and loss incurred by the Umgeni board or the state”.
Ramaphosa authorised the proclamation on January 16.
Umgeni Water corporate stakeholder manager Shami Harichunder said the utility would co-operate fully with the investigation.
The board said it has appointed current chief financial officer Nomalungelo Mkhize to be the acting chief executive in the interim whilst the board deliberated on the initiation of the process to fill the position. The board’s committees would be meeting before the end of November to deliberate in detail.
The recruitment process for a chief executive is said to usually take two months to conclude. The board said it would communicate the anticipated timelines at the appropriate times.