Municipal battle lines drawn

Kamva Mokoena

Kamva Mokoena

The appointment of an acting municipal manager in northern KwaZulu-Natal has caused a storm across the political spectrum with opposition parties calling for his dismissal.

On Friday, Thando Tubane was appointed by Local Government MEC, Mike Mabuyakhulu, as acting municipal manager for Utrecht municipality.

His appointment followed the suspension of municipal manager, Velaphi Kubheka, and mayor Mabhutana Khoza after accusations of fraud and maladministration.

Tubane is a former municipal manager for Greater Kokstad municipality. He resigned after a string of corruption allegations were levelled against him.

One of the charges was allegedly awarding a R4,4million tender to a company owned by Nomusa Mufamadi, wife of Local Government minister Sydney Mufamadi, without following procedures.

"How can you appoint someone who resigned for alleged corrupt activities from his former municipality?" the DA's Radley Keys said.

He described Mabuyakhulu's action as an insult. He believes there is a relationship between Tubane and Mabuyakhulu to push their own agendas and that Mabuyakhulu is dishonestly fighting ANC battles with taxpayers' money.

IFP national chairman Zanele Magwaza said: "Kokstad municipality was the worst during Tubane's era and what change will he make for the community of Utrecht?"

She said the mayor and manager's suspensions were not Mabuyakhulu's duty. He should have referred the matter to the council.

"This is a municipality led by the IFP not the ANC," Magwaza said.

"It is clear that this is revenge in disguise because the IFP took over Amajuba from the ANC."

ANC secretary Senzo Mchunu said Tubane's corruption allegations were settled out of court and he is innocent until proven guilty.