Ad­min staff next in line

ANC orders City’s top brass to act on staff im­pli­cated in graft

The Witness - - FRONT PAGE - CLIVE NDOU • [email protected]­

THE leadership have been dealt with, now get go­ing on the of­fi­cials.

Barely a month af­ter the ax­ing of Msun­duzi Mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s leadership who were ac­cused of turn­ing a blind eye to ram­pant cor­rup­tion there, the ANC has or­dered the coun­cil’s new top brass to crack the whip on mu­nic­i­pal em­ploy­ees im­pli­cated in graft.

Ad­dress­ing the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg busi­ness com­mu­nity dur­ing a meet­ing be­tween mem­bers of the KZN cab­i­net and cap­tains of in­dus­try in the city on Tues­day evening, KZN Pre­mier Sihle Zikalala said last month’s re­moval of the Msun­duzi po­lit­i­cal leadership was only the start of a broader clean-up op­er­a­tion.

“The in­ter­ven­tion does not only stop at the po­lit­i­cal level, it will also af­fect the ad­min­is­tra­tive wing of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity,” he said.

Zikalala is also the head of the pro­vin­cial ANC leadership that axed for­mer mayor Themba Njilo, his deputy Thobani Zuma and speaker Jabu Ngubo af­ter ac­cus­ing the troika of a fail­ure to in­stil a cul­ture of good gover­nance at the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

His ad­dress to the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg busi­ness com­mu­nity took place against the back­drop of ru­mours that sev­eral of Msun­duzi’s se­nior man­agers were go­ing through dis­ci­plinary pro­cesses for acts of alleged cor­rup­tion and mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion com­mit­ted dur­ing the term of the pre­vi­ous po­lit­i­cal leadership.

On Mon­day The Wit­ness re­ported that se­nior of­fi­cials within the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s com­mu­nity ser­vices unit had been served with sus­pen­sion no­tices for their alleged role in the con­tro­ver­sial se­cu­rity con­tract be­tween the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and pri­vate se­cu­rity com­pany Khuse­lani Se­cu­rity Risk Man­age­ment (KSA).

It has since emerged that the of­fi­cials had been served with no­tices of in­ten­tion to sus­pend.

Ac­cord­ing to the Spe­cial In­ves­tiga­tive Unit that probed the con­tro­ver­sial deal, in 2016 se­nior of­fi­cials with the com­mu­nity ser­vices unit al­legedly amended the guard­ing con­tract be­tween the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and KSA, re­sulted in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity be­ing over­charged by R150 mil­lion.

How­ever, de­spite the fact that the SIU find­ings and those made by other arms of the state, in­clud­ing the au­di­torgen­eral and the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Pub­lic Ac­counts (Scopa) had im­pli­cated sev­eral of­fi­cials at the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, the find­ings were yet to be acted on.

Zikalala told busi­ness that fail­ure by the pre­vi­ous mu­nic­i­pal po­lit­i­cal leadership to act on the find­ings was one of the rea­sons that led to the re­moval of the Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee led by Njilo.

“We are now en­ter­ing a new chap­ter. One of the main tasks of the new Msun­duzi po­lit­i­cal leadership would be to en­sure the im­ple­men­ta­tion of all the re­ports,” he said.

The Pi­eter­mar­itzburg and Mid­lands Busi­ness Cham­ber (PMBC) CEO Me­lanie Ve­ness wel­comed the clean-up op­er­a­tion within the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s ad­min­is­tra­tive wing.

“As busi­ness we have been call­ing for ac­count­abil­ity on those who took us to where we are to­day. We can’t be ex­pected to trust the same peo­ple who took us to where we are to­day,” she said.

Speak­ing at the same event, Co-op­er­a­tive Gover­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs MEC Sipho Hlo­muka said the ANC’s de­ci­sion to re­move Njilo, Zuma and Ngubo and re­place them with the new leadership team of Mayor Mzi The­bolla, his deputy In­der­jit Mani­lal and Speaker Eu­nice Ma­jola was proof that the ANC was com­mit­ted to fix­ing prob­lems at the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“There is def­i­nitely a will­ing­ness. As we speak the new leadership is at work try­ing to ad­dress all the chal­lenges at the mu­nic­i­pal­ity — we want to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that is con­ducive for in­vest­ment,” he said.

De­spite be­ing the province’s cap­i­tal city, mis­man­age­ment within the Msun­duzi Mu­nic­i­pal­ity saw the city be­ing over­taken by Richards Bay, which is cur­rently the sec­ond big­gest KZN eco­nomic hub af­ter eThek­wini.

Zikalala said it is crit­i­cal for the Msun­duzi Mu­nic­i­pal­ity to func­tion if the province is to grow the econ­omy and cre­ate much-needed jobs.

“Msun­duzi should be­come a metro by 2021.

“If that does not hap­pen then it would mean that some peo­ple failed to do their jobs.”

Deputy Mayor Mani­lall In­der­jit, who was stand­ing in for Mayor Mzi The­bolla, told busi­ness that the days of cor­rup­tion at the Msun­duzi Mu­nic­i­pal­ity were now over.

“We all have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to ad­here to good gover­nance,” he said.

As busi­ness we have been call­ing for ac­count­abil­ity on those who took us to where we are to­day. We can’t be ex­pected to trust the same peo­ple who took us to where we are to­day.

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