The City turns to Cogta

Msunduzi council is divided on who should run the City while municipal manager Sizwe Hadebe is on suspension pending a probe into maladministration allegations against him.

Mayor Themba Njilo appointed chief financial officer, Neli Ngcobo, as acting municipal manager when Hadebe was suspended on August 2.

On Friday a special full council meeting was convened as the 20-day mayoral discretion period had come to an end.

Some councillors were of the view that Ngcobo should continue holding the acting position, others wanted a different general manager, and there were those who felt that an external candidate should be brought in.

The meeting eventually resolved that Njilo should write to the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) for MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube to second a suitable external candidate to act until Hadebe’s investigation is concluded.

“She [Ngcobo] will continue acting pending a response from Cogta because council agreed that she has done a good job while she’s been acting,” said Njilo.

Njilo said the City was still stable and residents should not have any fears.

“As councillors we do our utmost best to take decisions that will ensure the stability of our municipality and not compromise them,” he said.

DA leader Sibongiseni Majola said the party’s caucus did not have a problem with Ngcobo acting throughout Hadebe’s suspension as she had done a good job during her three weeks in office.

“We are also torn because we feel that she is needed in her position as the CFO, more so now because we are trying to turn the City around and I’m not sure we have someone with her capacity to act as the head of finance while she is wearing the hat of the municipal manager,” he said.

Majola said the challenge with Msunduzi is that the majority of the general managers previously had some allegations of misconduct levelled against them.

“The preference is that someone who ascends to act in a position of a municipal manager should have been cleared of any allegations, whether true or false, that were ever made against them but that doesn’t happen here because investigations are never concluded,” he said.

He used the former City manager Mxolisi Nkosi as an example, saying he still had a dark cloud hanging over his head because he was never cleared of the allegations that were made against him when he was suspended in 2016.

“We want Cogta to second someone but a part of me can’t help but remember that we are in this situation today because Cogta seconded Hadebe when Nkosi was suspended.

“His secondment was irregular because he did not hold a pensionable position, so whoever they send this time will be scrutinised ...” said Majola.