City to act on report

The council has resolved to institute disciplinary action against suspended City boss Sizwe Hadebe following the tabling of a report alleging high-level graft in his office.

On Friday an independent investigator, Sithembele Mhlanga presented his findings to council after a month-long probe into allegations of contraventions of the Municipal Systems Act and Municipal Financial Management Act.

While the report was dealt with as a “confidential item” Weekend Witness was told by council sources the contents are far-reaching.

They include allegations that Hadebe increased his annual salary by R500 000 without following processes and is alleged to have also inflated prices for contracts.

A property earmarked for a cemetery was originally valuated to be worth R1,5 million and only 40% of it was found to be suitable for burial but Hadebe allegedly duped council into paying R27 million for it.

Hadebe also allegedly misled the council into paying for his accommodation while he was acting even though he had five properties in Msunduzi.

The voice on the damning audio clip that was leaked to the media in April was also confirmed in the report to be Hadebe’s.

The recording captured a senior official being instructed to manipulate interview scores in favour of Khanyisile Shoba to secure her appointment as a senior manager for asset and liabilities.

This was apparently done on the instruction of the deputy mayor Thobani Zuma but both he and Shoba have denied this.

Mayor Themba Njilo said Hadebe would be served with a notice of disciplinary hearing and extension of his suspension soon. He would then have seven days to respond as to why the council should not go ahead with its resolution.

Opposition parties and some ANC councillors welcomed Mhlanga’s report. They were however concerned that it was one-sided as Hadebe did not get his opportunity to give his version of events to Mhlanga. Apparently Hadebe was invited to come forward but never did.

“It’s not nice when we have to tell the ANC councillor that we told them so and they never listened.

“Hadebe should have never been appointed as the municipal manager because even his secondment was irregular,” said DA caucus leader Sibongiseni Majola.

He said they want Hadebe to tell his side of the story so that people he allegedly colluded with can also be exposed.

His sentiments were echoed by IFP’s Thinasonke Ntombela who said the rot goes deeper than what was alluded in Mhlanga’s report.

“We are happy with this report but want an extensive investigation across the municipality so that we can get an idea of the extent of the corruption in Msunduzi. Things started going south before Hadebe came so let’s not pretend that all that is wrong is on his head,” he said.

ACDP councillor Reinus Niemand said: “Hadebe didn’t fall from the sky. He was brought here by Cogta and did what he did at the instruction of the most senior politicians so they must also face the music along with him”.

Attempts to get comment from Hadebe were unsuccessful.