Durban — The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal said it could not be blamed alone for Musa Mbhele’s appointment as eThekwini city manager if he was found to have been illegally employed, since it never wanted him in the position.
Responding to questions posed by the Daily News at a media briefing on Wednesday, the party’s provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo said it was public knowledge that the ANC never wanted Mbhele to be the city manager but was wanted by the opposition parties.
Mtolo said it should be remembered that even mayor Mxolisi Kaunda was not part of the panel which recommended Mbhele to the council for approval, a move which he said was not supposed to happen since the city manager accounted to the mayor.
“We never wanted Mbhele in the position and this is public knowledge. It’s a pity that now there is a problem, people want us to account for his alleged shenanigans in the city. We are not happy that the city has been in the media for the wrong reasons and I raised this with the eThekwini regional leadership which assured me that the council was dealing with the matter,” said Mtolo.
In the initial process, a panel that was chaired by Kaunda recommended Max Mbili to the council but that was blocked by the opposition.
It was believed that the opposition was influenced by then deputy mayor Philani Mavundla who favoured Mbhele. The opposition parties at the time believed that Mbili’s name was imposed by the ANC provincial leadership and demanded that Kaunda not sit in the panel in the renewed process which Mtolo suggested was illegal since mayors always chair the panel sitting for municipal manager’s interviews.
Mbhele’s appointment was under scrutiny after the Daily News obtained a corruption report by the City Integrity and Investigation Unit which recommended disciplinary charges against him. The report found him guilty of eight contraventions including that of the Municipal Finance Management Act.
It is a municipality policy that a person facing disciplinary charges could not be employed until cleared of any wrongdoing or at least the candidate must disclose to the panel, or the panel would have due diligence to vet all the shortlisted candidates.
The matter was also being deliberated on by the Municipal Public Account Committee (MPAC) which discussed the matter on Tuesday and would sit on Thursday to finalise it. MPAC chairperson Thami Xuma said after the meeting, his committee would make recommendations to the council on what action should be taken against the city manager.
Mbhele could also be charged criminally after the municipality’s Financial Misconduct Board recommended that a case be opened against him at the SAPS.
Mbhele denied the existence of the recommendations and his lawyers have written to the Daily News demanding a retraction. The letter was under consideration by the paper’s legal department.
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