Durban - The IFP mayor of Abaqulusi local municipality (Vryheid) in KwaZulu-Natal, Mncedisi Maphisa, has broken his silence over his remarks during a recent and closed meeting with senior managers.
In a statement, he said he never meant to interfere in matters of procurement and hiring of staff but merely wanted to be kept abreast as the political head of the municipality.
On Wednesday a recording of a meeting Maphisa recently had with senior managers of the municipality was leaked.
In it, he ranted and raved for minutes on end, saying they hire people and service providers without consulting him.
He was also overheard instructing the managers to find loopholes that can be used to terminate a contract of a service provider he appears not to be fond of, or he will stop attending municipal roadshows organised by it.
He said he meant that the buck stops with him, but his deep Zulu idiom caused confusion and uproar.
“As the leader of this Municipality, I need to be aware of everything that is happening so I can be able to speak to all matters relating to Municipality. Hence my request to be informed as a leader in order for me to be abreast of matters relating to the operations of the Municipality and that when there are challenges we forge a way forward together. The issue of discontinuing services with ODEC that serves as project management is purely on a performance basis.
“As I have been vocal at the recent IDP and Budget Roadshows that we need to re-look into ways of creating job opportunities by minimising outsourcing because we pay a lot of money, where you find some of the service providers are not doing their work as per the contract and others, their work is shoddy and of lower standards,” he said.
Regarding his comment that he is "the only uncastrated bull in the kraal", he said it was taken out of context as he never meant that he is the only one who is allowed to have sex with women staff members of the municipality.
Maphisa said he is sorry that his Zulu idiom was misunderstood and apologised for the harm it may have caused.
“But let me hasten also to apologise to those who misinterpreted my speech and the confusing Zulu sayings and proverbial that could have confused those who have shortcomings when it comes to the understanding of the rich Zulu language,” Maphisa said.
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal said Maphisa was “clearly interfering in the administration in violation of the Municipal Finance Management Act.”
“The act has a provision that prohibits mayors and councillors from inappropriate interference in the administration,” the party said, adding that it will report him to three bodies, including the Public Protector, to probe him.