Sibusiso Sithole
Durban - Former eThekwini municipal manager Sibusiso Sithole has been named the interim municipal manager at Ugu district municipality, pending approval by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta).

His appointment was made at a special council meeting held on Wednesday.

Cogta spokesperson Senzo Mzila said the department had not received a communiqué from Ugu about Sithole’s selection as interim municipal manager. The Daily News has been informed that the incumbent manager, Dhanpalan Naidoo, is on sick leave.

Sithole said he did not know anything about his selection, and referred queries to Cogta and Ugu.

This would not be the first time Sithole has been parachuted into a municipality in dire straits. Last year he was appointed administrator at Msunduzi Municipality.

Prior to that he was the Public Rail Association of SA’s interim chief executive and before that eThekwini’s municipal manager. He left eThekwini Municipality while former mayor Zandile Gumede led it after his contract was not renewed.

Ailing Ugu municipality has been beset with numerous problems, including corruption that has decimated its coffers, strikes and water problems.

Ugu spokesperson France Zama said the municipality had dismissed another 51 employees, bringing the total fired to 121 in the past four weeks. “The municipality has terminated the employment contract of 51 employees from our surrounding Port Shepstone depots, who have continuously defined themselves outside the parameters of their employment contract by blatantly defying a lawful instruction to return to work.”

Notices of termination of employment would be served to the workers. Zama said the municipality would ensure it followed due processes and would never “egg-walk” over taking decisive action against staff who participated in illegal strikes.

“Our residents are currently enduring the difficulty of water supply disruptions due to the prolonged labour unrest, which has manifested itself as destruction of municipal infrastructure coupled with acts of intimidation and threats to our operations. We will continue to forge ahead with our effort of striving to maintain law and order in the workplace while striving to provide services to our residents.”

SA Municipal Workers Union Ugu district chairperson Mthandeni Ngcobo said the union welcomed Sithole’s appointment. The union hoped Sithole would clean up the corruption at the municipality.

Ngcobo said the union continued to fight against their members’ dismissal. “We will fight until the very end.”

The union’s members would join a Cosatu-led march to the offices of Cogta in Durban tomorrow.

The marchers would demand the reinstatement of workers fired at Ugu and Newcastle municipalities. Last year it was reported that Newcastle had fired 223 workers protesting over the non-payment of overtime.

Daily News