‘Fire City’s deputy’

Msunduzi’s deputy mayor Thobani Zuma might not have been at Monday’s council meeting but his presence loomed large at the City Hall.

This as a group of disgruntled ANC activists staged a placard demonstration inside the council chamber, demanding he be axed.

The group of about 40 people first picketed outside the City Hall, but as the meeting continued about 10 activists entered the council chamber.

They did not disrupt the proceedings but held up their placards, which contained allegations of corruption against Zuma and the manager for uMgungundlovu District Municipality Dr Ray Ngcobo.

“ANC leadership please remove criminal Thobani Zuma,” read one of the placards.

They also accused Ngcobo of misappropriating funds that were meant for the Jika Joe housing project and spending R250 000 of the City’s money on furniture for his home.

Speaker Jabu Ngubo did not address their demonstration until some councillors asked her about it.

She responded by saying that council meetings are open to the public and she had no reason to kick them out since they were not disruptive.

When it was time for council to discuss confidential matters, the group stood up and shouted that they would not stop until Zuma is fired.

“Thobani must go otherwise we will disrupt all the meetings,” shouted one as they walked out.

They went and stood outside the chamber where ANC chief whip Truman Magubane came to find out their grievances, but they demanded to speak to Mayor Themba Njilo and Ngubo.

Magubane said that would only be done after the meeting so they waited until late in the afternoon.

Their spokesperson Sbusiso Mkhize, who is a former ANC councillor, said Msunduzi has been turned into a looters’ playground. He said the public are being denied services due to them because the money is being stolen by corrupt individuals.

“If we as the ANC say that we are serious about dealing with the rampant looting of Msunduzi then we need to remove the deputy mayor from his office.”

They said action needs to be taken because he and the suspended City manager Sizwe Hadebe “were in it together”.

Attempts to get comment from Zuma were unsuccessful.

Ngcobo denied the allegations, saying they were rehashed as a political ploy to tarnish his image.

“These allegations were investigated and withdrawn by Msunduzi,” he said.

He suspects that the attack on his reputation could be linked to the rumours that he is planning to go back to Msunduzi if Hadebe leaves.

“I’ve repeatedly told everyone who have asked that over my dead body will I go back there,” said Ngcobo.