We can no longer trust Nzuza, say councillors

By Kailene Pillay Time of article published Jun 28, 2019

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Durban - ETHEKWINI Municipality’s full council meeting was delayed yesterday when ANC councillors demanded that embattled city manager Sipho Nzuza not be part of the proceedings.

Calls from ANC councillors for Nzuza’s removal from the meeting came after it emerged that he was allegedly a key State witness in the corruption case against suspended eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede and her co-accused.

According to DA councillor Nicole Graham, who posted a video of the incident on Twitter, the altercation became physical.

She described the incident as “dramatic” in that the councillors “pushed and shoved” Nzuza before his bodyguards could intervene.

In the video, there are at least 14 male councillors gathered around Nzuza and loud but inaudible shouting can be heard.

Nzuza remained still throughout the video, listening to the men while his bodyguards stayed by his side.

“What we heard is that they wanted the city manager to leave the meeting or recuse himself because he is a State witness against councillors Mondli Mthembu and Zandile Gumede,” Graham said.

The Mercury reported on Wednesday that Nzuza turned State witness and was set to spill the beans.

Graham said after Nzuza’s bodyguards intervened, the ANC then requested a caucus.

“When they came back, the city manager was here. We asked for an explanation but one wasn’t given.

“I think it’s clear that it is almost open factional warfare between supporters of Zandile Gumede and those that don’t support her.”

Describing the drama at the meeting, an ANC councillor close to Gumede said they objected to Nzuza being part of the meeting because he had turned against the “very same municipality that employed him”.

“How can the city manager be advising councillors on council decisions when he is also the first to turn against them. “He ends up being a State witness in court on decisions he advised us to take.

“The bottom line is that we can no longer trust him,” the source said.

Another ANC councillor said 14 ANC councillors were causing anarchy, calling for the city manager to step down from his position.

“They accused him of going to newspapers with information that he had turned state witness”.

The source said following the chaos, the ANC requested a caucus meeting where the councillors continued with their call for Nzuza’s removal.

“However, the provincial secretary called and instructed councillors to stop what they were doing as Nzuza had been employed by the ANC and only the party had the prerogative to remove him from his position,” the source said.

The disgruntled councillors than called uMlazi refuse removal contractors to protest outside City Hall where they demanded that acting mayor Fawzia Peer pay them for the work done in the town.

When asked to comment, Nzuza denied the incident was directed at him. The IFP’s Mdu Nkosi said he also witnessed the “scuffle” which showed there was serious tension between two factions within the ANC.

“The writing is on the wall that the ANC is deeply divided. This is the first meeting I saw the ruling party calling for a caucus three or four times which also showed they are all not on the same page,” Nkosi said.

Chairperson for the EFF in the eThekwini region, Mlebuka Hlengwa, called for the city’s leadership to place the municipality under administration.

He said that service delivery was suffering at the hands of a broken and divided ANC. “The city cannot run under this ANC. There are big factions and no leadership,” Hlengwa said.

The Mercury

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