Chris Ndaliso
Senior journalist
4 minute read
27 Jun 2022

Concern over delay in filling Msunduzi municipal manager post

Chris Ndaliso

Opposition parties in Msunduzi are concerned about the delay in the process of the appointment of the City manager.

Opposition parties in Msunduzi are concerned about the delay in the process of the appointment of the City manager.

This comes amid allegations of divisions within the ANC caucus in Msunduzi on the vacancy of the municipal manager which are said to be delaying the appointment process.

The position of the municipal manager has been vacant since Madoda Khathide’s departure to provincial government at the end of March.

The Witness has learned that some ANC members in the Msunduzi council want the acting manager, Nelisiwe Ngcobo, to take the position while others favour the uMgungundlovu District municipal manager, Dr Ray Ngcobo, who previously headed the sustainable development department and city entities in Msunduzi.

The DA in Msunduzi has written to Mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla inquiring about the reasons the process of appointing the city manager has been delayed.

In the letter, which The Witness has seen, DA caucus leader councillor, Ross Strachan, said their query was in line with the local government regulations on the appointment and conditions of employment of senior managers which had stipulated timeframes.

The letter reads: “The DA would like to know the list of candidates that have been shortlisted for the position. We would also like to know the stage which the selection panel is at. The party would like to know if the report on the process could be submitted in detail to the next executive committee meeting, or, in response to this letter within seven days.”

Strachan said the DA also had an issue with Dr Ngcobo’s name being associated with the municipal manager position because he had been implicated in a series of forensic investigations both in Msunduzi and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) reports at uMgungundlovu about three years ago, which still had not been dealt with. The Witness previously reported on the alleged acts of misconduct, some of which related to the Mandela Day Marathon tenders, which Ngcobo denied.

Meanwhile, chairperson of the municipal public accounts committee (Mpac) and IFP councillor in Msunduzi, Njini Magubane, said the delay in the appointment process was disturbing. “The municipality is in crisis in all angles and the delay of the appointment of the accounting officer is frustrating and there’s no indication as to what the ANC in the municipality is doing to fast-track it.”

He said Dr Ngcobo left under a cloud when he went to uMgungundlovu. “We are in a vaccum as a municipality, and we cannot make sensible decisions because of the lack of a municipal manager. Everything is going south.

Magubane said: “We as the opposition parties are engaging on how best we can work to ensure that the ANC loses power in the municipality, but the smaller parties are frustrating the engagements because the ANC is able to manipulate them. We need a new administration to get this municipality back on track and service the people.”

The EFF said they would not be supporting any candidate proposed by the ANC for the position of municipal manager.

Party councillor, Bongani Mbona, said the EFF would take a back seat and watch the ANC imploding in the municipality.

“My view is that the appointment of Dr Ngcobo would be disastrous because he left with a bad record in the municipality. For the sake of progress, we would prefer the acting manager to stay in the position because she has been acting in the position and at least there is someone to hold accountable. ANC internal party squabbles should not stand in the way of service delivery,” said Mbona.

Number of applicants ‘minimal’

Speaker in the Msunduzi council, Eunice Majola said the delay in appointing the city manager was caused by the small number of applicants. “The number of applicants was minimal so that caused a situation where it was not easy to make a selection for a perfect candidate. After the second round of advertising the post we received a satisfactory response and I can tell you now that the mayor is dealing with the matter.”

Majola said by the end of next week a candidate would have been identified.

“As for the [supposed] division on who should be appointed as city manager, there is no such thing.

“The appointment of such position is an administrative function and councillors have no say or influence on that. I can’t comment on corridor talk on matter of this magnitude,” said Majola.

Dr Ray Ngcobo speaks out

Dr Ngcobo said he was currently and comfortably contracted to uMgungundlovu District Municipality and had he had no comment on Msunduzi or anything happening there.

He said on Sunday: “[On reaching] the end of my contract, I will go back home in Mpumuza to look after my grandfather’s cows.” 

He said it was the elders who decide on who to must lead strategic state assets and even if he wanted to, it would not be up to him as to who gets deployed.

Ngcobo said his skills and capacities were not confined to local government.

As for the allegations emanating from forensic probes, he said; “I have faced thousands of allegations and I don’t take most of them seriously.”