But councillors accuse him of misusing funds, holding two jobs, submitting false travel and food claims and hiring his own bodyguard

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

A school principal who is also a part time mayor in the IFP-led Hlabisa municipality has been cleared of wrongdoing after allegations of corruption were levelled against him.

The mayor and school principal, Bobby Ntombela, has come under attack from his fellow- councillors who accuse him of misusing council funds.

The municipality is situated outside Mtubatuba in northern Zululand and is one of the poorest in the country.

The allegations are contained in a confidential letter in possession of the Sowetan, leaked by IFP members.

The letter accuses mayor Ntombela, who is also a full-time principal of Nhlwathi Primary School, of misusing public funds.

It also accuses the Speaker Zakhele Nyawo of having two bodyguards as he is on the "wanted list by family members of a person he allegedly killed in 2004", while still a police reservist in KwaMsane.

The guards are paid by the council.

The concerned individuals are questioning why Ntombela is the only mayor, out of the five Umkhanyakude district mayors, who has 24-hour bodyguards.

"We want to know how much time a week the mayor spends in the school or at the council.

"He definitely cannot be present in both jobs at the same time," the letter said.

They accuse the mayor of submitting travel claims while allegedly using a municipal vehicle and also claiming for his "groceries" from municipal funds.

Ntombela is also accused of creating a position of an intelligence gathering officer (IGO) and then hiring a close friend to do the job.

When contacted by Sowetan, Ntombela said there was nothing wrong with him holding two positions.

"I am a full-time principal and a part-time mayor and it is normal.

"We are a council of 37 members and only the speaker's position is permanent," he said.

On the issue of the bodyguards, he said he has only one person who works as his driver and bodyguard.

He said he hired an IGO after municipal material was stolen and the municipality needed "someone competent and accountable".

"We are here to serve the interest of the poor people and when it comes to service delivery, we can not compromise that.

"We cannot gamble on that. We deliver projects every weekend and we will continue on that path," he said.

He said he had not misused tax payers' monies and challenged his accusers "to prove it".

Speaker Nyawo admitted that he was an accused in a murder case, but had been cleared in court.

"I am a full-time member of council and my bodyguards have been approved by council."

Local government spokesman Mthatheni Mabaso said in terms of current legislation, there was nothing wrong with Ntombela being a principal and a mayor.

"The current legislation allows for part-time councillors to have permanent jobs.

"However, I think there will a review of this set up in future," said Mabaso.

He said there was nothing irregular about a mayor having bodyguards, as long as "the proper channels were followed and the municipality could afford it".

But they would follow through on the allegations, because the hiring of bodyguards should be approved by the SAPS.