Exposé prompts action

Disgruntled ANC supporters marching to the Pietermaritzburg Legislature yesterday. Photo: Bongeka Sibisi

Even City Hall did an about turn announcing that a full investigation headed by Mayor Themba Njilo will now be undertaken.
Last week’s exposé of alleged high-level dirty deals comes in the wake of a viral audio clip purportedly of Msunduzi Municipal Manager Sizwe Hadebe
instructing a senior finance official to stop the awarding of a multi-million rand civil engineering contract and to meddle with the job interview points so that a particular woman got the job.

Several senior staff members at Msunduzi have fingered Hadebe as being the person recorded in the voice clip following last week’s exclusive Capital Newspaper’s article.
Yesterday (Tuesday) some ANC regional executive members along with irate citizens took to the streets of the CBD marching to the Legislature with a memorandum condemning corruption at the municipality. The audio clip was repeatedly broadcast on loud speakers throughout the protest.

Protestors which included Sanco, Cosatu and the SACP called for the immediate resignation of Hadebe and Deputy Mayor Thobani Zuma, the latter being accused of being the municipal manager’s “handler”. SANCO deputy secretary Thuli Ziqubu said the organisation is fed-up with the allegations of corruption in the municipality.

Letter from Minister Dr Zweli declaring investigation into Msunduzi Municipality

 

“We are tired of corruption not being addressed. We must stop turning a blind eye and strive for clean governance,” she said.
ANC councillor and regional executive member, Mtuza Mkhize, called for transparency during the investigation of the audio clip. Mkhize said that Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC, Nomsa Dube-KaNcube, should, “hear the community being displeased with current leadership.”Cosatu Regional Secretary, Zimasile Giyama, said the surfacing of the clip confirmed their suspicions of “wholesale corruption in the municipality”.

 

“This audio clip provides the basis for drastic action to be taken by the Cogta MEC to put this city under administration before things get even worse. We have noted the deterioration in governance since Hadebe came to the municipality,”said Giyama.

The DA leader in the municipality, Sibongiseni Majola, said the recording warranted swift action as the reputations
of the municipality and the council were at stake.“When an individual makes reference to appointments of people and awarding of contracts, that is a governance issue; our task of oversight is undermined by such utterances and that is why we have been consistent in calling for the city to be put under administration.”

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson,Thobeka Mafumbatha, confirmed to Maritzburg Sun that the City has pinpointed the individuals in the audio clip but cannot reveal their identities until the authenticity of the clip is proven.

Also read: Dirty deals go viral

Mafumbatha said the municipality is open to investigations and that the mayor is heading the investigation.
“Msunduzi Municipality Mayor Themba Njilo will be at the forefront of the investigation which will be shared with all relevant stakeholders that include council and Cogta,” said Mafumbatha.

“The municipality operates within the parameters of the government, so we are open to any investigation levelled against the municipality. We welcome the internal investigation,” she said adding that the city has a no-tolerance policy on corruption.

In the audio clip, a senior official instructs a subordinate that a certain female candidate’s point score from her interview be increased so that she gets
the job.
“I’m just a delivery boy,” the senior official is heard explaining. The man in the clip adds, “Instruction ithi kumele sidlalise amaFigure,” which loosely translates to “the instruction given says we should play around, and manipulate the figures.”

Watch Video of Disgruntled ANC Members outside Provincial Legislature: 

“At least she was not bad; it doesn’t matter whether the score difference is one or two points,” he says justifying
the request. During his conversation the man convinces the employee saying the manipulation of the interview scores is a “blessing in disguise” as there are not many females in municipal managerial
positions.
The recorded conversation includes references to an engineering tender that had been given to a Johannesburg based company, questioning if the application had been processed by the Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC).

In response, the employee says the application has been submitted to the BEC, to which the senior official asks for it to be retrieved and removed from a meeting’s agenda.

The latest debacle engulfing Msunduzi comes in the wake of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize recently
making an undertaking of a thorough investigation into the affairs of the Msunduzi Municipality following a complaint from some senior Msunduzi
staff of “administrative malfeasance” in the municipality.

  AUTHOR
Bongeka Sibisi
Journalist

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