The Herald (South Africa)
More officials in hot water
City acts against alleged misconduct with further suspensions, as municipal manager’s sick leave extended to Friday next week
A CRACKDOWN on alleged misconduct and corruption in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has led to more senior officials being suspended, while others are to be slapped with notices of suspension.
Corporate services director Chris Jamda has been served with a notice of suspension and must explain today why he should not be sent home until a disciplinary process against him is concluded.
His boss, Mod Ndoyana, has been on suspension since July.
Human settlements director Mvuleni Mapu is to be served with a notice of suspension as soon as acting city manager Mzwake Clay can locate him, a municipal statement said yesterday.
Clay said Mapu was on sick leave.
Supply chain official Sox Nkanjeni has also been suspended.
Last week, The Herald reported that municipal communications director Roland Williams is on suspension as well as another official in his department, Carle Ritter-Erasmus.
The municipality confirmed this yesterday.
Twelve other officials, including human settlements boss Lindile Petuna, treasury official Nadia Gerwel, fresh produce market director Isaac Nokele, and cashiers and clerks from the economic development department have been suspended since June.
Mayor Danny Jordaan’s chief of staff, Mlungisi Ncame, said disciplinary proceedings against some were expected to start as early as next week.
The allegations against them include irregularity, gross negligence, failure or refusal to cooperate with an investigation and violations of municipal law.
“The suspensions are necessary to allow investigations to take place, after which a determination will be made on further disciplinary proceedings,” Clay said.
The suspensions come as city manager Mpilo Mbambisa’s future in the municipality hangs in the balance.
Mbambisa is facing a litany of allegations of misconduct and dereliction of duty relating to contracts approved without following tender procedures.
The council has asked deputy mayor Bicks Ndoni to negotiate a possible settlement with him to leave the municipality.
Ncame said yesterday that Mbambisa had extended his sick leave from last week to Friday next week.
The municipality only expects a decision from him then.
Clay said it was only fair to the municipality and the affected individuals that the allegations be tested once and for all.
He said they were all innocent until proven guilty.
The suspensions are part of what some say is a much-needed administration shake-up by Jordaan in a municipality sinking in corruption and maladministration.
However, critics say the municipality’s leadership is acting in haste, eager to be seen to be cleaning up corruption ahead of next year’s municipal elections.
Some of the officials have been in hot water before, but their cases were never followed through.
In 2007, Mapu – who was then a municipal housing unit manager – was suspended for a string of misconduct charges.
The charges were withdrawn in 2009 and Mapu reinstated after the council decided that his disciplinary hearing had dragged on for too long and cost too much. – Additional reporting by Avuyile Mgxitama-Diko
‘ The suspensions are necessary to allow investigations to take place