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DURBAN – UMNGENI acting municipal manager Mzi Hloba is expected to appoint an independent investigator, by Tuesday, to start conducting a disciplinary hearing against the suspended municipal manager Thembeka Cibane.
Hloba was appointed to act in the position earlier this week by the council, after Cibane was suspended last week. His appointment was confirmed to the Daily News by the mayor Richard Sokhela, on Wednesday, who said Hloba’s immediate task is to appoint an independent investigator to conduct the disciplinary hearing.
The mayor said that, in terms of the Municipal Systems Act, the investigator should be appointed within seven days, following the appointment of an acting manager, which happened on Tuesday.
“We have done everything on our part, as the council, so that the acting manager is now apprised with the process and, in terms of the law, it must be completed within 90 days,” said the mayor.
In a progress report that the mayor presented to council on Tuesday, which the Daily News has seen, Cibane will have to answer several questions – including questions about the appointment of two companies, without issuing a tender bid. The council said they were appointed irregularly. The companies shared R1.3 million for doing work related to Covid-19 and the council deemed that a loss to the municipality, because the supply chain management policy was not followed.
Another issue in the report is that some companies did the job without their appointment documents being signed by Cibane but, at the end, their payments were approved.
In terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA), a tender that is over R200 000 must be approved by the municipal manager and there should be an appointing letter for the awarded company before it can start work, which the mayor said did not happen.
The report emanated from the first report, where the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) recommended that council take disciplinary action against Cibane, for misusing nearly R20 million in municipality funds. Cibane had previously denied any knowledge of the report. She has not responded to questions from the Daily News since Tuesday.