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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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eThekwini executive committee to decide city manager Mbhele’s fate

Musa Mbhele’s future as eThekwini City Manager now in the Exco hands. Picture: Supplied

Musa Mbhele’s future as eThekwini City Manager now in the Exco hands. Picture: Supplied

Published May 5, 2023


Durban — Musa Mbhele’s days as eThekwini city manager appear to be numbered following the Municipal Public Accounts Committee’s (MPAC’s) recommendation that serious action be taken against him.

The MPAC chairperson, Thami Xuma, told the Daily News on Thursday that his committee concluded that the City Integrity and Investigation Unit’s (CIIU’s) findings and recommendations concerning Mbhele were very serious and had referred the matter to the executive committee (Exco) for a decision.

Xuma’s committee deliberated on the issue almost the whole day on Thursday, listening also to presentations by the CIIU officials. Xuma said they found that all eight contraventions which the city manager was found to have breached were of a serious nature.

He added that a decision about the city manager who was hired by the council should be taken by the Exco, a decision-making body between council meetings.

“I will submit the recommendations of my committee to the Exco for a decision. We have found these contraventions by the city manager very seriously although we cannot dictate to the Exco what action to take but we expect them to take a decision that would be in the best interest of the City,” said Xuma.

He also confirmed that the CIIU informed his committee that it had opened a case of fraud against the former official that implicated the city manager in the alleged corruption involving the doctoring of the street pole advertising tender.

Xuma said the opening of the case was necessitated by the fact that Mbhele had refused to supply the investigators with the bank statements they had required to prove the claims by the former official.

He had testified that he, Mbhele, and the contractor that was awarded the work had struck a deal that he would pay them R3 million as a kickback for their assistance to ensure that he received the tender.

The opening of the criminal case could pave the way for the lawful obtaining of Mbhele’s bank statements which would reveal whether he used his own money to rebuild his house he had demolished after the tender was awarded. Mbhele had testified that he used his own salary and the sale of his flat in Morningside to renovate his house.

The official left the City after he blew the whistle on the alleged crime. He testified that in terms of the deal, he was going to be a transaction conduit between Mbhele and the contractor to protect Mbhele.

He also testified he made payments to Mbhele as per the deal but Mbhele in his testimony said it was a loan he had requested from the official.

With the ANC throwing Mbhele under the bus by publicly distancing itself from the endorsement for the lucrative job, his days appear to be numbered at the City Hall as the Exco is expected to deliberate on the matter on Tuesday.

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