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Ex-Msunduzi municipal manager named in probe into corruption and illegal dealings

Msunduzi Municipality municipal manager Sizwe Hadebe could face civil claims to the tune of thousands of rand for losses suffered by the municipality through alleged corrupt or illegal dealings that took place under his tenure. Pic: Faceobook

Msunduzi Municipality municipal manager Sizwe Hadebe could face civil claims to the tune of thousands of rand for losses suffered by the municipality through alleged corrupt or illegal dealings that took place under his tenure. Pic: Faceobook

Published Feb 1, 2021

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DURBAN - FORMER Msunduzi Municipality municipal manager Sizwe Hadebe could face civil claims to the tune of thousands of rand for losses suffered by the municipality through alleged corrupt or illegal dealings that took place under his tenure.

On Thursday, the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) tabled a report at a full council meeting that looked into allegations of malfeasance in the municipality dating back to Hadebe tenure.

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In a statement, Cogta said it had sent senior officials to the Msunduzi and Richmond councils to report on forensic investigations into allegations of fraud, corruption, maladministration and statutory non-compliance at these municipalities. It gave these councils 21 days to report back.

The presentation of the report irked some councillors in Msunduzi because of the manner it was presented to them. Councillors at the meeting confirmed that it was a verbal presentation, the councillors were allegedly not given a copy and were not allowed to ask questions.

Hadebe left the municipality under a cloud in 2019 after the council resolved to terminate his contract, two years into his five-year contract term. Hadebe was sacked following his suspension for his alleged involvement in a jobs-for-pals scandal.

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The report touched on widespread allegations of wrongdoing or corruption by councillors, the staff, and Hadebe.

Cogta investigation looked at 47 allegations and Hadebe was implicated in 14 of these, 18 had no evidence and 15 had been investigated previously.

The report recommended that since Hadebe was no longer an employee of the municipality and disciplinary action cannot be instituted against him, civil action should be taken to recover some of the losses.

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Among the allegations contained in the report that Hadebe should be pursued for was the appointment of a former DA councillor as a manager in the office of the speaker. The appointment was found to be illegal and the former councillor allegedly never officially took over the position.

The report said civil action had already been instituted against the former councillor, and urged the council to seek legal advice for this to be extended to Hadebe, as he was equally responsible (for the matter) and should also be pursued for civil litigation.

The report alleged that Hadebe had tried to defraud the municipality regarding his leave, saying he was absent from work for approximately 30 days, but tried to claim that the days were owed to him. The report recommended that the Internal Audit Unit investigates the matter.

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DA councillor Sibongiseni Majola said they would be pushing for Hadebe to be held accountable for the sorry state he left the municipality in.

Among the shocking allegations made in the report include the allegations that, Hadebe, had illegally increased his salary and had made numerous illegal staff appointments.

“One of the reasons we pushed for this municipality to be placed under administration is because of the level of corruption, the lack of consequence management against errant staff had reached intolerable levels.

“We want Hadebe to be held accountable for all the corrupt acts that the report has substantiated and we want him to pay back all the money that was lost because of these deals,” said Majola.

Another councillor, speaking on condition of anonymity because the report was confidential, said it was very disturbing that the investigation could not substantiate on many allegations of a criminal nature.

“At this stage, the report looks like a whitewash for the sake of unity of factions. Letting criminal actions be overlooked is a dangerous precedent and it's illegal to make any kind of agreement with the (accused) individuals to let bygones be bygones.”

Asked for comment, Hadebe said he knew nothing about the report. “You are the first person to call me about this, no one (those who compiled it) had even called me to give me a chance to comment on it.”

Msunduzi Mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla said some of the issues in the report were old and could not be substantiated. “At the moment we cannot speak on the report, we still need to study it and respond within 21 days.”

The Mercury

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