File photo: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency(ANA).

DURBAN – Treasurer and campaign leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Narend Singh, said on Tuesday that Msunduzi Municipality being placed under administration was well overdue.

“It’s about time. We have raised it in parliament over and over again, this issue of bias. [The ANC led government] are quick to place IFP municipalities under administration, but when it comes to their own, they take a long time,” Singh told the African News Agency (ANA).

Msunduzi, which encompasses the Pietermaritzburg area, was officially placed under administration on Tuesday morning by the province’s cooperative governance and traditional affairs department (Cogta).

At a press briefing earlier in the day, Cogta MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube said the municipality had failed to hold its councillors to account for deliberate absenteeism, without which a quorum could not be reached. This rendered the municipality “dysfunctional” she said.

“This municipality has also failed to institute consequence management measures for managers responsible for unauthorised and irregular expenditure.

“The Msunduzi Council has likewise failed to exercise oversight over management, with particular reference to the management of conditional grants resulting in underexpenditure, stopping or threatened stopping of funds by National Treasury."

The municipality was overdrawn and record-keeping was poor, said Dube-Ncube, and no one had been held to account.

Council had also failed to resolve “innumerable service delivery-related challenges besetting the city, particularly waste management, roads and street maintenance as well as electricity services”.

“And finally, the Msunduzi Council has failed to investigate allegations of malfeasance and maladministration against senior managers and other leaders of the municipality where necessary.”

The DA and IFP have long held that Dube-Ncube has been slow to act when it comes to the African National Congress--led Msunduzi, despite numerous scandals and forensic evidence being presented.  

A forensic report by Mhlanga Attorneys released last year revealed that irregular appointments and tender irregularities emanating from the office of the city manager, Sizwe Hadebe, were crippling the city.

“The report shows that from the day of his appointment there has been a flouting of council rules, municipal regulations, and the extent of the rot that now permeates is beyond shocking, so we are eagerly awaiting disciplinary proceedings against him,” DA council leader Sibongiseni Majola told the African News Agency at the time.

Hadebe had been suspended just a month before following a leaked audio clip doing the rounds in which he could be heard giving instructions to rig a job placement.

During her press briefing on Tuesday morning, Dube-Ncube said that although the municipality was in a financial crisis, it would be able to pay staff. A ministerial intervention team would be deployed to the city, but council would not be dissolved, she said.

African News Agency (ANA)