Umhlathuze municipality’s problems far from over

George Mari, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on COGTA

UMHLATHUZE problems are far from over with the municipality facing a lack of senior management after the Mayor and opposition parties, including the DA, called for the suspension of the Municipal Manager Dr NJ Sibeko on the grounds of incompetence.

The municipality’s Deputy City Manager is currently suspended.

According to a report tabled by the Mayor Councillor Elphas Mbatha, senior municipal management has failed to spend the infrastructure grant over the past two financial years, causing service delivery to suffer.

A document in the DA’s possession reveals that the Mayor has also accused the MM of misleading Council on several occasions over failure to spend the funds by claiming that it is linked to court cases currently taking place against the municipality.   It has since been discovered that this non-expenditure cannot be linked to the court cases in entirely.

The problems within Umhlathuze began months back, with the breakdown of the relationship between the Mayor and the Municipal Manager.  Several months ago the DA called on KZN COGTA’s HOD to intervene and an official was subsequently sent to the municipality to investigate.  The representative, Lionel Pienaar, reported back to me advising that the dispute had been sorted out.  Clearly this is not the case.  The DA is still waiting for Mr Pienaar’s report, which was promised more than a month ago.

Umhlathuze’s situation is far from ideal.  A municipality needs a full and capable management team if it is to function effectively.  The DA calls on KZN’s COGTA MEC, Nomusa Dube to conduct an urgent enquiry into the allegations against both the MM and his Deputy.  If found lacking, they must be dismissed and order must be restored with the appointment of replacements.