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Could Sutcliffe join the NPC?

Mike Sutcliffe

Mike Sutcliffe

Published Nov 18, 2011

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When Michael Sutcliffe closes the door to city manager’s office for the last time at the end of the year he will take up a position at the National Planning Commission (NPC), insiders in the city’s executive committee say.

According to executive committee members and ANC members contacted on Thursday, the corridors of city hall are a-buzz with talk that Sutcliffe was expected to join the NPC, headed by Minister in the Presidency, Trevor Manuel.

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A controversial figure who has a love/hate relationship with Durbanites, Sutcliffe’s colleagues described him as a “great administrator” who would excel at the NPC.

“He has a wealth of experience,” said an ANC member. “He is an intellectual and I have no doubt that he will more than succeed if he does take up the position.”

An executive member said: “The matter has not been spoken about openly, but word going around is that he will be joining Trevor Manuel in the planning commission, but you never know with government.”

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The councillor said while Sutcliffe had ruffled a few feathers during his tenure, his contribution to the city and some of his commendable work, including ensuring that last year’s World Cup was a success, should not be forgotten.

Opposition parties also commended Sutcliffe for his sterling work, but were quick to point out his shortcomings.

“Sutcliffe will always be remembered positively for the World Cup and negatively for building a multibillion-rand stadium which is becoming a white elephant,” said Patrick Pillay of the MF.

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“He has done a lot of good for the city, managing a multibillion-rand budget. He is qualified, able and a good administrator.

“His greatest weakness is his inability to tell politicians ‘a big no’. His failure is that he did not stand up to politicians. Other than that, he was a good municipal manager,” Pillay said.

Dean Macpherson of the DA shared the same sentiments. “The thing about Sutcliffe is that no one ever doubted his administrative skills. But he always allowed party affiliation to cloud his judgement.

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“We wish him all the best for the future and we hope he reflects back on some of the dubious decisions that he made and acknowledges that he was wrong,” he said.

The city’s executive council has already shortlisted candidates to replace Sutcliffe and to be at the helm of the city’s R28 billion budget.

His five-year contract was extended by another six months in June to allow the recruitment process to take place. - Daily News

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