Cape Town Port manager Sipho Nzuza is tipped to become Durban’s new city manager.
Durban - Cape Town Port manager Sipho Nzuza is tipped to become Durban’s new city manager.

He emerged as the favourite in interviews done last month. This means that incumbent Sbu Sithole is out despite eThekwini Municipality achieving its first clean audit under his leadership.

A letter has been written to MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomsa Dube Ncube, informing her that Nzuza was the top-scoring candidate and should be appointed.

The city’s in-committee, which is made up of members of the executive committee, conducted the interviews.

“I can’t say much about this because we all signed confidential forms. I can tell you that Sipho would be the city manager, he was the favoured candidate, and it’s almost a done deal now. Nomsa Dube, as the MEC for Cogta, has been informed” said a source who was involved in the process.

Four people, including Sithole and Nzuza, were shortlisted for the city manager’s position but Nzuza’s name came up in discussions even before Sithole left office at the end of his contract term.

The two other shortlisted candidates were Blake Lefatole and Mthokozisi Duze.

In a document seen by the Sunday Tribune, Nzuza scored highest in the interviews while Sithole scored the lowest.

A document recommending Sipho Nzuza be appointed city manager.

The favoured candidate, Nzuza, is no stranger to Durban and said he was hoping for confirmation of his appointment soon. He previously served as the chairman of eThekwini Municipality’s audit committee for six years.

“I have all the required qualifications and experience. I am at the age where I feel one has to give back one’s skills and knowledge to the city,” said Nzuza.

Nzuza, who currently lives in Cape Town, is an MBA graduate. He also holds a higher diploma in taxation from UKZN and a BCom from Unisa.

His profile shows he has extensive experience in accounting, auditing, risk management and strategy formulation and implementation.

Sithole served as the city manager for five years and had a good working relationship with former mayor James Nxumalo.

However, the new mayor, Zandile Gumede, suspended him in December, 18 days before his contract ended.

When the Sunday Tribune asked Sithole for comment he was reluctant to speak about the interview but sounded hopeful about the prospects of returning to office.

“I have never been asked about my job interview before and it’s unethical of you to ask me. I don’t want to comment about it, why don’t you ask those who sat in the panel for interviews?

“In short, I went there and I did well. It’s going to be very difficult to get anyone who would say I don’t qualify or I’m incompetent for the job because I have been doing it for five years,” said Sithole, who would not be drawn on whether he would appeal against the decision should he not get the job.

In the letter to the MEC, the council said that should Nzuza be unable to take the position, the second candidate, Lefatole, should be appointed.

Cogta spokesman Lennox Mabaso said he would not discuss the matters with the media.

“I can neither deny nor confirm this. The city will communicate with you once all the processes have been finalised,” said Mabaso.

eThekwini Municipality spokeswoman Tozi Mthethwa said: “The process of appointing a city manager at eThekwini Municipality is under way. An official announcement will be made once all the necessary steps pertaining to the appointment, as per legislation, have been concluded.”

Sunday Tribune