Durban - The EFF in eThekwini is gunning for city manager Musa Mbhele and plans to call for his resignation.
The party is unhappy with Mbhele’s leadership and cites “poor performance”, saying under his leadership, the performance of the municipality has not improved, party insiders revealed.
The Mercury understands that the party has written to several City officials, including the office of the speaker Thabani Nyawose, to lay the groundwork to call for his resignation.
The EFF is in a “loose coalition” with the ANC in governing the municipality, hence it has leverage on the matter. Mbhele is also vulnerable as the ANC has stated publicly that he was not its choice for the post. EFF councillors told The Mercury recently that this was about performance.
“There are many concerns. Many allegations keep surfacing regarding the running of the City,” said an insider.
Among the performance concerns was the lack of action on housing for flood victims. “We’ve not received any reports on the purchase of land to resettle those displaced by the floods.
“The party is generally not happy with the city manager, allegations continue to surface against him and that is why it has taken this stance that the city manager must resign.”
EFF leader in the council Themba Mvubu said they would make a pronouncement on the matter soon.
He said the party was not happy with the municipality’s performance. An example, he said was that some reports took a long time to be signed by officials, delaying service-delivery initiatives. “Some officials will say we are still awaiting the signature of the city manager (on a report) and that frustrates service delivery. The city manager is the accounting officer, after all,” said the EFF leader.
Asked about the letter to the speaker, Mvubu said they would comment “when the time is right”. But a senior official in the council said it would be difficult to remove Mbhele. “It’s a complicated process if the removal is based on performance. The much easier process is when it is based on misconduct. It is fraught with risks of litigation (if removal based on performance).”
DA councillor Thabani Mthethwa said there was a collapse in basic service delivery and the city manager must be held accountable for that as the accounting officer. “But the EFF is a coalition partner of the ANC, they are therefore part of the problem. The city manager, the ANC and the EFF are responsible for the collapse of services in eThekwini,.”
ADeC councillor Visvin Reddy said: “The performance of the City has not improved under the leadership of the city manager. But the EFF’s sudden call for his removal is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to distance themselves from the ANC.”
ANC provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo said the party would only be in a position to speak once the EFF spoke to them directly.
Municipal spokesperson Gugu Sisilana said: “The City Manager’s 2022/23 performance has not yet been assessed, as we are awaiting the Auditor-General’s audit to be concluded to capture the actual performance.”
She directed The Mercury to the Office of the Mayor for further comment, but the office did not respond.