uMngeni Municipal Manager Accused of Squandering R20 Million Must Be Suspended With Immediate Effect

The IFP calls upon KZN MEC for COGTA, Sipho Hlomuka, to ensure that the process of implementing recommendations contained in a damaging Special Investigating Unit (SIU) Report – which implicates embattled uMngeni Municipal Manager, Thembeka Cibane – is expedited and that necessary action is taken. Ms Cibane stands accused of allegedly squandering nearly R20 million.

According to information in the public domain, the SIU Report revealed that the Municipal Manager had irregularly processed nearly R20 million for Covid-19 alleviation projects. The Manager failed to comply with clauses 2(a) and (b) of the Code of Conduct for Municipal Staff Members, as set out in Schedule 2 of the Municipal Systems Act.

As the IFP, we call upon the KZN MEC for COGTA, Sipho Hlomuka, to ensure that the SIU Report is tabled before the full Municipal Council and that the recommendations in the Report – calling for disciplinary action against the Municipal Manager – are implemented. The process must be expedited without any further delay. We call for the Municipal Manager to be suspended, with immediate effect. Therefore, the buck stops with the MEC.

It is shocking that while we are busy waging war against Covid-19, people who are trusted to safeguard the public purse are taking advantage of these dire circumstances to line their pockets. The money that is alleged to be squandered by the Municipal Manager could have been spent on many service delivery projects, including those to save lives during this devastating pandemic.

However, as the IFP, we are not surprised that Ms Cibane has been implicated in corruption. This relates to the dark cloud hanging over her head, over her dubious appointment as a Municipal Manager, as it was alleged that she was appointed despite failing a pre-employment test. The assessment was conducted by top HR company, Work Dynamics, on behalf of the provincial COGTA Department, shortly before Cibane’s employment in February 2017. It found that she was unable to perform at a strategic level.

Further, the IFP condemns in the strongest possible terms the behaviour by some ANC councillors in uMngeni Municipality, who are alleged to be protecting the Municipal Manager from suspension.

The culture of impunity and of protecting people accused of corruption must not be tolerated and must come to an end. Exposing corruption and holding the corrupt accountable can only happen if we understand the way corruption works and the systems that enable it. Wrongdoers should be prosecuted and pay the price for their crimes.

The IFP is against corruption, irrespective of who the culprits are. There can be no holy cows in the fight against corruption.

Contact:
Mr OTTO B Kunene, MPL,
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs,
083 417 9944