Msunduzi Municipality City Manager Sizwe Hadebe’s remarks that councillors should undergo more workshops has led to calls that he should stop making personal remarks. File picture

PIETERMARITZBURG - Msunduzi Municipality councillors believe that a tough sanction against a city official who wrote a threatening letter to staff members in the Auditor General’s (AG) office will serve as a warning that such an act will not be tolerated. 

The sentiment was expressed during a council sitting on Wednesday where city manager Sizwe Hadebe told councillors that disciplinary action would be taken against the official. He would not name the official who is believed to be very senior in the municipality but indicated that moves were underway to deal with the official. 

Opposition parties said it was important that tough action be taken against the official.  

In May this year, media reports emerged indicating that AG officials were allegedly intimidated in eThekwini Metro and Msunduzi Municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal, prompting the AG staff's withdrawal in the two municipalities.  

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) councillor Reinus Niemand said a tough sanction would serve as a warning on intimidation of officials.

"We need to see strong action against the official because we have reached a point where it is fashionable for Auditor General staff members to be intimidated. This must not be allowed in this municipality," said Niemand.

Democratic Alliance leader Bill Lambert told the African News Agency (ANA) that they were satisfied that some sanction was underway for the official. “This kind of attitude cannot be allowed to take root at the municipality. If officials from other institutions are sent in to do their work they must do so without any fear,” said Lambert. 

He noted, however, that it had taken almost two months for action to be taken against the official. 

Senior managers also came in for more harsh criticism for delivering reports late in the meeting. Councillors said they suspect that managers delay the release of reports because they want matters to be approved without questions from councillors. 

"We are not going to tolerate this habit because it demonstrates that managers do not take us seriously. They simply send these reports very late and many of them have financial implications," said African National Congress councillor Sandile Dlamini. 

The Speaker told city manager Sizwe Hadebe that the conduct of management will be closely monitored by councillors. "We are certainly not going to have today's experience where in the middle of a council sitting members of the secretariat start rushing us with reports," said Speaker Jabu Ngubo. 

Councillors will go on a winter break and resume their duties on 18 July.

African News Agency (ANA)