PMB mayor vows to act on graft

The Mercury - - NEWS - Thami Magubane

MSUNDUZI Mu­nic­i­pal­ity Mayor Themba Njilo has vowed to take ac­tion against any mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cial who has been in­volved in cor­rup­tion.

Njilo made the com­ments yes­ter­day as the DA in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had been press­ing him for progress in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion against mu­nic­i­pal man­ager Sizwe Hadebe.

Hadebe has been im­pli­cated in a record­ing in which he is al­legedly heard ask­ing for in­ter­view scores to be ma­nip­u­lated to favour a par­tic­u­lar can­di­date. Hadebe has not spo­ken about the record­ing.

Af­ter the al­le­ga­tions were made pub­lic, nine se­nior man­agers in the coun­cil wrote to the Min­is­ter of Co-op­er­a­tive Gover­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs (Cogta), Zweli Mkhize, ask­ing him to in­ves­ti­gate the run­ning of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity un­der Hadebe.

Njilo said the DA should learn to be pa­tient.

“I told them in the last coun­cil meet­ing that this was not a mat­ter to rush. I am han­dling it and in the next coun­cil meet­ing I will up­date them.

“I am not cast­ing any as­per­sions on the MM (Hadebe), but I am say­ing no one can be al­lowed to do as they please or en­gage in any crim­i­nal con­duct in the coun­cil,” said Njilo.

DA leader Jerome Ma­jola said they were ex­plor­ing their le­gal op­tions. “We have ex­hausted all in­ter­nal op­tions and what’s left is for us to go out­side (courts).”

He said they were un­happy that Hadebe re­mained at work de­spite the se­ri­ous­ness of the al­le­ga­tions. “Other se­nior man­agers like the in­fra­struc­ture ser­vices man­ager, the in­ter­nal au­dit man­ager and se­nior man­ager at the of­fice of the MM were all placed on pre­cau­tion­ary sus­pen­sion when al­le­ga­tions were made against them, why is that not done in this case?” asked Ma­jola.

IFP coun­cil­lor Thi­na­sonke Ntombela said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity al­ready had a prob­lem with a high num­ber of sus­pen­sions of se­nior man­age­ment.

“At last count the coun­cil was al­ready spend­ing about R11 mil­lion on peo­ple on sus­pen­sion,” he said.

“Njilo is prob­a­bly look­ing at a le­gal opin­ion on how to charge the MM. He can­not risk sus­pend­ing him with­out ev­i­dence. It is clear that the man­agers cur­rently on sus­pen­sion were sus­pended with­out ev­i­dence of wrong­do­ing and that is why the cases are dif­fi­cult to fi­nalise.

“The is­sue with the MM is that the record­ing can­not be used as ev­i­dence be­cause it is a crim­i­nal of­fence to record some­one with­out their per­mis­sion,” he said.

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