DURBAN - THE search for the new city manager for the eThekwini Municipality could resume in the next two weeks.
A meeting of the executive committee (exco) in two weeks’ time will chart the way forward.
The position has been vacant for a year after the departure of Sipho Nzuza and attempts to fill it collapsed last month following a complaint by opposition parties that the ANC at provincial level had manipulated the process.
Max Mbili, a municipal manager at a South Coast municipality, had been tipped as the front runner and the preferred candidate by the provincial ANC.
However, when the matter came up for discussion and for the appointment to be approved by exco and full council, opposition parties cried foul and blocked the appointment, stating that while they took no issue with the c andidates, they were not happy with how the appointment process had been handled.
Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda dismissed the allegations of interference, saying the process was above board.
There has been no movement on the part of exco since council rejected the appointment and the process may have been put on the back burner following the floods last month.
The issue of the vacancy was highlighted by the city’s audit committee in its report recently where it noted that the appointment process of the city manager was in progress and it had been envisaged that it would be completed soon.
Mayoral spokesperson Mluleki Mntungwa said a report on the matter would be tabled at the next exco meeting and it “will be on the basis of this report that exco recommends a way forward”.
IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi described the filling of the vacancy as “urgent”.
“The position of the city manager is a critical and crucial position, this person is tasked with developing even the system of how the municipality must function,” said Nkosi.
He reiterated that the opposition parties had taken issue with the process to fill the vacancy, not the candidates.
DA councillor Nicole Graham said there had been no recent discussion on the issue of the city manager’s post.
Speaking on the city’s audit committee report, DA councillor Yogis Govender said it had red-flagged numerous challenges in the city, including the number of vacancies in the municipality.
She added that the committee had noted that it was a risk that the city manager post had not yet been filled.