Council suspends manager

The ANC-led Ingwe municipality at Creighton in southern KwaZulu-Natal has suspended its manager, Bongani Ngcobo, for alleged mismanagement and misuse of public funds.

The suspension comes ahead of an internal probe into the misuse of taxpayers' money after the municipal budget was not approved by the council. Ngcobo was suspended in January, but was reinstated after a ruling by the Pietermaritzburg high court. The court ruled that the council did not follow proper procedures when suspending him.

Ngcobo has apparently been at loggerheads with several councillors over his leadership style. He is a former IFP member, but is reported to have resigned from the party when he took over as municipal manager.

In March, Ngcobo suspended chief financial officer, Frazer McAllister, and tender committee chairman, Errol West, for infringing the municipality's code of conduct. McAllister allegedly opened a bank account in the amount of R5million without following proper procedure. West was suspended for allegedly assisting a "white" contractor to fill a R1,4million tender form.

It is alleged both managers were reinstated by mayor Eric Sikhakhane and speaker Mdelwa Mtolo. Mtolo has also been accused of influencing other councillors who opposed Ngcobo's suspension. Attempts to get comment from Sikhakane proved fruitless as he was locked in a meeting. - Mhlaba Memela