PIETERMARITZBURG - Opposition parties in the Msunduzi Municipality have welcomed a report on the investigation of suspended city manager Sizwe Hadebe.
The report on alleged corruption at the municipality was finally presented to a full council sitting on Friday after last week’s meeting collapsed because of a mass absence by African National Congress councillors.
While ANC councillors remained mum on the report on Friday, both the DA and the IFP welcomed the findings of the investigation and called for swift action to limit the damage that had allegedly been done in the past two years.
“We welcome the report, it has confirmed our suspicions on the level of rot that has been allowed to take shape in this city,” DA leader in the council Sibongiseni Majola said.
The report presented by forensic investigator Sthembele Mhlanga is believed to have unearthed massive wrongdoing in the city manager’s office, including irregular appointments and awarding of contracts at the municipality.
Majola said the DA was now awaiting disciplinary action to be taken against Hadebe.
“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,” Majola said.
The investigation followed complaints from general managers and other senior city officials and the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) about alleged corruption at the municipality.
IFP councillor Thinasonke Ntombela said the report was to be welcomed, as it had covered all the terms of reference. “Clearly the investigator knew what had to be done and he covered all the areas of concern. The key issue now will be the disciplinary proceedings against Hadebe. Judging from the report the municipality has been a playground for all forms of wrongdoing, whether appointments or awarding of tenders. Action needs to be taken on what has been revealed by the investigation,” said Ntombela.
The ACDP's Rienus Niemand said that while the party welcomed the report, political figures both in the city and region needed to take responsibility for the damage done under Hadebe’s leadership, as he would not have acted alone.
He also expressed reservations about the role of the co-operative governance and traditional affairs department in seconding Hadebe to the municipality despite his colourful past when he was a senior official at the Ekurhuleni Municipality in Gauteng.
Speaking to ANA following the sitting, Msunduzi mayor Themba Njilo expressed relief at the conclusion of the investigation and its presentation to council.
“The suspended city manager will now be served with the notice of disciplinary proceedings against him as per council resolution taken at the sitting,” said Njilo.
Hadebe would also be notified that his suspension had been extended. Nelly Ngcobo would continue as acting as city manager, he said.
African News Agency (ANA)