uMngeni-uThukela Water rocked by nepotism claims

Acting Umngeni-Uthukela CEO Dr Sipho Manana was snubbed for the CEO's position. Photo supplied

Acting Umngeni-Uthukela CEO Dr Sipho Manana was snubbed for the CEO's position. Photo supplied

Published Feb 19, 2024


Durban — Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu said he was considering an intervention request from the concerned uMngeni-uThukela Water Board members over the “imminent appointment of a corruption-tainted official”.

The Daily News understands that concerned board members of the KwaZulu-Natal-based water utility had anonymously penned a letter to Mchunu asking him to intervene and prevent the appointment of the official.

The minister’s spokesperson, Kamogelo Mogotsi, confirmed that the minister was in possession of the letter from concerned board members who requested his intervention, adding that they chose to remain anonymous.

“We can confirm that the minister has received a letter and the request is receiving the necessary attention,” said Mogotsi.

The person, who could not be named for now, is a senior official in the Magalies Water Board and was allegedly tainted with corruption. The entity is based in Rustenburg in the North West but also supplies bulk water to Gauteng and Limpopo.

The Daily News also received similar concerns from the concerned staff on condition of anonymity, who said it was a foregone conclusion that the official would be appointed since he was favoured by the selection panel of the water entity.

A source within the entity said they were shocked when the official was shortlisted for the job despite it being public knowledge that he was tainted with corruption in his entity which he said was a clear indication that the panel wanted him at all costs.

The source further stated that they suspected nepotism since the panel was headed by a board member who shared the same surname as the official.

The source questioned how the official was shortlisted after he applied and failed to be appointed for the same position while Umngeni Water was still a standalone entity.

“We do not understand how the panel selected the official despite his poor track record at Magalies which was tainted by allegations of corruption. We wish to know whether vetting was done on this official before he was shortlisted,” said the source.

The panel was said to have snubbed the acting CEO, Dr Sipho Manana, who was not even shortlisted for the job despite meeting all the criteria except that he has only about two months to complete the five years at the executive management level.

Manana holds the position of Corporate Services manager at the utility but acts as CEO currently. He confirmed that he applied for the job but was not shortlisted, but referred further queries to the board. He is accredited for successfully leading the merger of Umngeni and Umhlathuze Water boards which became the Umngeni-Uthukela Water Board.

A board member who spoke on condition of anonymity as well said he was aware that the official was shortlisted, but the board had not received the report on who else was in the running.

The interviews have been completed and the panel was expected to score all the candidates, then recommend three successful candidates to the board which would be then presented to Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu who, after consultation with the department portfolio committee, would appoint the CEO.

UMngeni-uThukela Water Board spokesperson Siyabonga Maphumulo said the entity would not be drawn into speculating on the process of the appointment of a chief executive as the process was still under way and no final decision had been taken.

UMngeni-Uthukela Water Board was being touted to take over as the water services provider in eThekwini. Two weeks ago, Minister Mchunu supported the DA’s call to eThekwini to appoint a water service provider.

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