Durban — Following the revelations that eThekwini Speaker Thabani Nyawose may have misled the council when he denied that there was a criminal case opened against city manager Musa Mbhele, opposition parties are calling for his removal as a Speaker.
The crusade against Nyawose is led by African Democratic Change leader Visvin Reddy who has filed for a motion of no confidence in the Speaker.
In a letter of notice to the Speaker, seen by the Daily News, Reddy said the motion was directed at the Speaker for misleading action.
He said Nyawose had “blatantly lied” to the party whips when he informed them there was no criminal case or charges against the city manager.
“This motion is directed against the Speaker of eThekwini Municipality for his misleading actions. The Speaker has blatantly lied to party whips when he informed us that there were no criminal charges against the City Manager.
“This response was made to a question I posed regarding the City Manager’s involvement in a corruption case where he was alleged to have received kickbacks for extending a particular tender.
“I have verified that the head of the City Integrity and Investigations Unit (CIIU) has filed an affidavit, which is currently in the possession of the police, implicating the City Manager in this case and contained in a report tabled at MPAC before the Speaker made these comments. The Speaker’s conduct is disgraceful and requires further probing. Therefore, I request that this motion be brought forth for further discussion and resolution,” read the motion.
The Mayor’s spokesperson, Mluleki Mntungwa, said he was not aware of the motion.
Before the council meeting on May 25, Nyawose briefed the party whips where he denied that the City Manager was mentioned in the case that was opened by the municipality’s investigating arm, CIIU. Reddy again raised the matter during the council sitting, objecting to Mbhele presiding over the meeting but Nyawose again dismissed the objection, saying there was a case opened but the City Manager was not part of the people in the docket.
Reddy said now he had found out after seeing the affidavit that Mbhele’s name was there, it meant Nyawose misled the council and must face consequences.
He said the Speaker must resign for lying to the council and to the people of eThekwini. Nyawose was backed by Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda who said it was only Alex Jwara that the case was opened against; not the City Manager and accused the paper of misleading the public.
In an affidavit that was deposed by CIIU head Mbuso Ngcobo and seen by the paper, Mbhele was mentioned alongside Jwara and Sithembiso Sibiya, the Sotobe Outdoor owner. The three are being investigated for fraud and corruption emanating from their ‘R3 million deal’ that they allegedly struck in 2013. It is alleged that Mbhele and Jwara ensured that Sibiya got the street pole advertising tender and in return he would pay them R3m as a kickback.
After an apparent fallout, Jwara blew the whistle and spilt the beans during the CIIU investigations where he revealed that he was the transaction conduit between Mbhele and Sibiya in that he (Sibiya) was paying bribes to his account and he transferred the money to Mbhele.
Jwara had previously said that he was unaware of the case and attempts to get hold of Sibiya were unsuccessful. Mbhele had not responded to questions sent to him during the week.
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