Two top municipal officials suspended for 'taking part in council party political battles'

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Two senior IFP officials at Newcastle municipality have been suspended.

Municipal manager Bonga Ntanzi and strategic executive John Khumalo were given a "precautionary" suspension with full pay.

The opposition Federal Congress (Fedcon) joined the ANC to support the suspension. In February the ANC/Fedcon alliance passed a vote of no-confidence on IFP-aligned mayor Lungile Dube, giving the ANC control of the municipality.

Prior to this, Fedcon had been aligned to the IFP but the relationship has since soured.

Ntanzi and Khumalo are accused of contravening their professional codes and failing to implement council resolutions. They are also charged with denting the image of the municipality "by taking part in party political battles in the council".

It is alleged the two were calling for the expulsion of two Fedcon councillors so that the municipality could fall back into IFP hands.

Acting mayor Afzul Rehan confirmed that the two officials were suspended for misconduct.

"We are investigating the matter. The officials will be called for a disciplinary hearing soon," Rehan said.

Fedcon leader Mathews Shunmugam confirmed that "we now vote with the ANC".