The Star Late Edition
Booted city boss on mend after assault with hot iron
SUSPENDED eThekwini Municipality manager Sipho Nzuza is recovering in hospital after an alleged attack by hitmen that left him with burn wounds from a hot iron.
Nzuza said he now feared for his and his family’s lives because the hitmen, who allegedly attacked him, were well-known and dangerous.
Last week, naked pictures of Nzuza circulated on social media, accompanied by a video – where a man is heard alleging Nzuza had been caught sleeping with another man’s wife. Nzuza denied the allegation. “They (the alleged hitmen) carefully planned this whole thing. Everything shown on social media is lies. They planned it to make me look like a bad person,” Nzuza explained.
He said those behind the alleged attack were people unhappy with the good work he had been doing for the city. He felt they wanted to destroy his career, and he was now thinking of fleeing the city for fear of being killed.
Nzuza said he did not want to open a case because he feared the men who had allegedly assaulted him.
Asked whether the attack took place at his home, Nzuza did not provide details, stating he would disclose all the details in due course.
Political parties have expressed disappointment with people who distributed and shared the pictures of Nzuza.
ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said distributing such content was not right. “What has happened is unfortunate and must be condemned. It is not the way to go about dealing with differences. It is wrong and unacceptable.”
National Freedom Party spokesperson Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam said that although Nzuza was a public figure, the sharing of material, of such a nature, was extremely inhumane.
Public figures needed to be careful how they conducted themselves, so that they were not caught in a similar situation, he warned. “Ethically, what happened is wrong and the distributor of such material is also wrong. We need to respect people’s privacy.”
eThekwini DA caucus leader Nicole Graham said that although she had political issues with the suspended city manager, it was unfortunate that people would circulate naked photographs of others, regardless of circumstances.
Chairperson of the EFF in KwaZulu-Natal Vusi Khoza had no sympathy for Nzuza, and felt the political leadership of eThekwini Municipality should terminate its association with the suspended municipal manager, with immediate effect.
Nzuza is facing fraud and corruption charges, along with former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, city officials, and ANC councillors, in connection with a multimillion-rand DSW waste collection contract.
He was arrested in March last year and granted bail, but arrested again on allegations that he had breached his bail conditions. These were tightened making it difficult for him to continue as city manager, which prompted his court application to relax his bail conditions, which was denied. The council granted Nzuza paid special leave until the end of February, extended until the end of March.