Calls for embattled eThekwini city manager to go

13 March 2020 - 12:48 By Zimasa Matiwane
In this file photo, former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, third from right, is pictured with city manager Sipho Nzuza, right, and deputy city manager for trading services Philemon Mashoko and head of eThekwini water and sanitation Ednick Msweli.
In this file photo, former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, third from right, is pictured with city manager Sipho Nzuza, right, and deputy city manager for trading services Philemon Mashoko and head of eThekwini water and sanitation Ednick Msweli.
Image: Supplied

ANC branches aligned to axed mayor Zandile Gumede are urging the speaker of eThekwini municipality to convene a special council sitting to fire embattled city manager Sipho Nzuza.

This comes after Nzuza appeared at the Durban commercial crimes court on corruption charges linked to the same tender scheme that the former mayor is implicated in.

Nzuza is among officials who allegedly colluded with politicians and service providers to unlawfully issue waste collection tenders worth more than R200m. He is out on R50,000 bail.

TimesLIVE understands that a special council sitting has been scheduled for Friday afternoon. 

In a strongly worded statement, the ANC members labelling themselves as “majority branches” called for the axing of Nzuza and the appointment of an administrator to allow “due processes to appoint a new experienced and credible city manager”.

“We equally urge the mayor, entire executive and councillors to be decisive in that Nzuza must be axed and avoid being seen as a defender of the embattled administrator,” the spokesperson for the grouping, Mzomuhle Dube, said.

Nzuza, who was appointed to the top job in 2017, turned state witness last year in the corruption case against Gumede and her co-accused. But he was arrested this week by the Hawks on charges including fraud, corruption and maladministration in respect of a multimillion-rand Durban Solid Waste tender.

The amount of irregular expenditure due to collusion between senior eThekwini officials and service providers in the controversial debacle now stands at R430m.

Prosecutor Ashika Lucken told magistrate Garth Davis that Nzuza had acted in common purpose, colluding with certain service providers.

The grouping, some of whom are eThekwini municipality councillors, said they were also considering asking the full council not to approve any monies to fund Nzuza’s legal battle. 

“As political structures, we subscribe to the principle of one's innocence until proven otherwise, however we have always been critical of Mr Nzuza's performance on multiple areas of service delivery,” Dube said.

After Nzuza's arrest, eThekwini municipality said the city would be co-operating with law enforcement agencies.

City spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said: “There is nothing that is going to impede service delivery, but also we would like to commit ourselves to co-operating with our law enforcement agencies and institutions that are tasked with dispensing  justice.”


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