Former eThekwini city manager, Mike Sutcliffe, has agreed to meet senior ANC leaders to discuss his concerns over the Manase Report and his successor’s handling of its release.
This comes after media reports that the ANC in the province wanted to speak to him directly after a recent media statement in which he said he had been put under pressure by certain politicians who wanted him to abuse tender processes in their favour.
Sutcliffe added that when he had refused, they tried to oust him from office.
He confirmed that he had received a call from ANC provincial secretary, Sihle Zikalala, soon after he made the claims.
“Yes, Sihle did contact me and wanted to arrange a meeting to discuss the issue, but I indicated that I was travelling and was out of the country and that I would get in touch on my return,” he said.
Sutcliffe added that he was not aggrieved with the party.
“My grievance is not with the ANC, it’s a local matter at municipality level and the way certain processes have been ignored while others (have been) selectively applied.”
Sutcliffe refused to be drawn further on disclosing the names of the politicians implicated in his media statement.
Meanwhile, municipality sources say reports of alleged political interference in appointments and staff removals have created an environment of uncertainty and fear.
“We feel completely alienated,” said one source, whose claims were repeated by a second employee.
“Many have been called in by Sithole and warned not to speak to the media and that only eThekwini spokesman, Thabo Mofokeng, mayor James Nxumalo or Sithole himself is mandated to do so.
“I don’t even get told about certain meetings that take place, which only a select few are asked to attend, even when the issues relate to my own portfolio.”
DA eThekwini caucus leader, Tex Collins, agreed with the concerns, adding that he had received similar complaints.
“There is an absolute culture of apprehension at the moment,” he said.
“Staff are unhappy and Sithole seems to be more focused on making the right media noises and getting the right headlines than following through with decisive actions.
“A typical example is our municipal laws, which state that every council meeting needs to be open.
“Yet we would have an in-committee meeting behind closed doors, where all our deliberations take place.
“We are then not allowed to say boo to a goose, let alone anything about the meeting to the media, only to find very often that the city manager himself would then meet certain journalists or hold a press briefing and reveal what went on at that meeting – from his perception.”
Before leaving office, eThekwini head of housing, Cogi Pather, said he had been called in by Sithole and warned against speaking to the media.
Sithole has on several occasions declined to respond to questions levelled against him.
Mofokeng also did not respond to several queries. - Daily News