Another council bid to oust municipal manager

Community members in Siyabuswa had been up in arms for a couple of weeks over political tensions at the Dr JS Moroka local municipality as well as decrying unstable provision of services. / Sebabatso Mosamo
Community members in Siyabuswa had been up in arms for a couple of weeks over political tensions at the Dr JS Moroka local municipality as well as decrying unstable provision of services. / Sebabatso Mosamo

The battle for the control of a struggling Mpumalanga municipality enters another round as its council convenes today to suspend its municipal manager.

The Mpumalanga government's executive committee led by Premier Refilwe Mtsweni resolved to institute section 106 B of the Local Government Systems Act which would see a forensic investigation being launched at three municipalities including the Dr JS Moroka local municipality which sits in Siyabuswa, north east of Pretoria.

George Mthethwa, spokesperson for the cooperative governance department, told Sowetan yesterday that the department will this week draw up terms of references of the probe and appoint investigators to conduct the forensic investigation at the three municipalities. "The investigators will be expected to submit a report in 60 days," Mthethwa said.

The Dr JS Moroka municipality, which struggles to provide its residents with water, has been rocked by intermittent protests action since its council has been trying to suspend its municipal manager, Thami Kubheka, for more than two months.

This has led to out-of-court settlement reached last Thursday, which saw Kubheka's nemesis, mayor Thulari Madileng, returning to his position after he had been ousted during a disputed motion of no confidence put forward by the EFF last month.

Today, the municipality is expected to convene another special council sitting in an effort to put Kubheka on suspension over allegations that he failed to attend a special council meeting and had illegally cancelled contracts with several service providers among others.

Kubheka told Sowetan that there seemed to be desperate attempts to "get me out of office". "It seems there's payments that desperately need to be made and there's desperation to get me out of office so that those transactions could be done," Kubheka said.

He reiterated that he was being targeted for cancelling dodgy contracts and refusing to pay service providers who were looting the municipality.

Themba Mahlangu, a community leader, said: "Our position ... is that we have the majority of councillors who will ensure that the meeting doesn't curate tomorrow because this (move to suspend Kubheka) is aimed at paying ghosts suppliers whose invoices Kubheka has refused to pay."

Municipal spokesperson Masabatha Ramatsetse did not respond to Sowetan's request for comment.

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