eThekwini Municipality councillors fear that their ability to monitor errant officials awarding contracts to family and friends could soon diminish. Picture: Archives
DURBAN - CITY treasurer Krish Kumar says he is considering legal options after he and other eThekwini municipal officials of Indian descent were referred to as c*****s.

The racially defamatory utterances, which were recorded and leaked to the media this week, were allegedly made by a senior city official, whose identity is known to the Sunday Tribune, while conversing about another suspended city official, Zandile Sithole.

Kumar said he was disappointed with what was said in the conversation and felt his rights were violated by the person who he deemed to be a professional, based on his seniority.

“I had a chat with the official concerned after the leak and he also expressed his disappointment.

“I will wait for the investigation to unfold before considering legal action,” Kumar said.

City manager Sipho Nzuza confirmed that the recordings were being investigated by city council’s Investigations and Integrity Unit (CIIU).

Nzuza said he listened to the recordings. However, when he approached the official concerned he denied the allegations. 

“He flatly denied them. He said someone with bad intentions could have framed him,” Nzuza said.

He said they were serious allegations and if proven could lead to a disciplinary hearing and the possibility of immediate dismissal.

According to the recordings, the official concerned admits to taking instructions from politicians to reinstate Sithole.

Sithole appeared in a disciplinary hearing over tender irregularities earlier this year.

The official is also heard accusing Kumar of wasteful expenditure after he appointed senior legal counsel to handle Sithole’s hearing.

“Our mandate is not to take instructions from politicians as suggested in the recordings.

“It is a violation of the scope of our work as city officials,” said Nzuza.

Kumar said he had followed due process based on a CIIU report regarding Sithole’s suspension.

The DA’s caucus leader Nicole Graham called for immediate suspension of the official and the party also reported the matter to the Human Rights Commission. The official concerned refused to comment.