Harding municipal manager’s job in the balance

Umuziwabantu Municipality's acting municipal manager Sazi Mbhele's post is yet to be filled.

The burning question uppermost in the minds of many is who will take over as the new municipal manager (MM) at Umuziwabantu Municipality in Harding.

Political squabbles and infighting within the ANC are said to be a hallmark of the ongoing appointment process.

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Yesterday (Wednesday) municipal staff told mayor Dixie Nciki and several other councillors that they were not happy that management had failed to appoint a new MM.

According to acting MM, Sazi Mbhele, his contract had expired at the end of April last year.

Mr Mbhele had been in the employ of the municipality for two terms, spanning a period of 10 years.

The Municipal Systems Act allows for an incumbent’s contract to be extended for three months, until an appointment is made, so when Mr Mbhele’s contract expired council decided to re-appoint him for the additional three months.

Unfortunately, apparently due to political divisions, no successor was chosen and at the end of the three months, no appointment was made.

Council had then asked the KwaZulu-Natal Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to appoint an acting MM while the search continued for a suitable candidate.

A businessman who spoke to the Herald on condition of anonymity said a continued delay in the process would not only affect the municipality and its staff, but might also affect service delivery.

“Harding is already suffering from poor service delivery, and the biggest question we are asking is, can the municipality afford to go on without an accounting officer? he asked.

Mayor Nciki told the Herald that council understood these and other frustrations, but said the process was still pending.

However, she added that plans to fill the post were in the pipeline.

“The candidates have already been shortlisted, we are just waiting for a final decision.”

Meanwhile opposition parties have threatened to submit a memorandum calling for an urgent council meeting to discuss the matter.

The parties said they would be writing to Council Speaker Mzwandile Nyathi, asking that he schedule a debate.



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Zimasa Mgwili

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