Municipal manager ‘used council credit for booze’

More charges have been added against embattled Richmond municipal manager Bongiwe Mnikathi.

The council now wants Mnikathi to explain how the council’s credit card was used to buy alcohol worth R20 000 from a Makro store.

The total municipal money spent on household goods, including furniture and food, using the municipal credit card from the wholesaler was R200 000.

Mnikathi has also been charged for failure to charge municipal chief financial officer, Sanjay Mewalall, who is facing more than 40 counts relating to alleged “corrupt activities” and fraud, and alternative charges of theft and money laundering.

Mewalall was suspended earlier this year but was never charged internally.

The council now wants to know why Mnikathi did not charge Mewalall before he was arrested.

The municipality held a special full council meeting on Tuesday where they added the new charges against Mnikathi, who is facing corruption and maladministration charges.

Municipal spokesperson Sibonelo Bhengu confirmed that new charges had been added against Mnikathi.

“The council met on Tuesday where the new charges were added,” he said.

Mnikathi said on Wednesday that she had not yet received the new charges and declined to comment further, saying the matter was sub judice.

Mnikathi was formally suspended last month facing allegations of maladministration, manipulation of supply chain management processes, intimidation of staff, failure to attend public and council meetings without valid reason and bringing the municipality to near collapse.

However, Mnikathi was granted an interim high court order which overturned her suspension. The matter will be heard at the Piertermaritzburg high court in November.

Workers at the Richmond Municipality have downed tools for three weeks demanding that Mnikathi be axed.

Sources said Mnikathi’s days in the municipality were numbered.

“It is clear that she has fallen out of favour with ANC politicians who have been protecting her all along. The ANC stood with her when workers started protesting against her earlier this year but it seems things have changed. Without the support of the ANC, I do not see her surviving. Workers have made it clear that they will not work under her. I wonder why she is going to deal with that ...” said the source.