Vryheid’s former acting MM says threat of criminal charges is just a political game

Former acting MM, Dalisu Zulu, says he is just a pawn in a political game.

FORMER acting municipal manager of AbaQulusi, Dalisu Zulu, may face criminal charges for continuing to pay Cllr Martin Mtshali (now late) a mayor’s salary and benefits, even after he submitted his resignation in writing to the Speaker.

The issue was brought before council on Thursday the previous week by municipal manager, Bonga Ntanzi, who has concluded an investigation into the wasteful expenditure.

During his investigation, Mr Ntanzi found that Cllr Mtshali had tendered his resignation on April 18 in a letter addressed to the Speaker, Cllr Michael Khumalo.

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At the time, there was speculation in political circles that Cllr Mtshali was being forced to resign as mayor by the IFP, and that he regretted having done so almost immediately after he had submitted the letter.

“On the very same day that the mayor had resigned, the item was prepared meant to appraise council about the said resignation. Subsequent to that, it became known and official that the councilor in question had resigned as mayor with immediate effect,” said Mr Ntanzi.

“On April 25, a letter was written by ANC whip, Cllr MB Mabaso, addressed to the acting municipal manager, Mr DH Zulu, on measures taken to cease the allowance and benefits pertaining to Cllr Mtshali on performing the mayoral duties. On May 4, he responded to the letter indicating that Cllr Mtshali remains the mayor of AbaQulusi with full benefits until council meets and decided on his resignation.”

Mr Ntanzi went on to quote Section 48 of the Municipal Structures Act (4)(a) which says, “A mayor and deputy mayor is elected for the duration of that person’s term as a member of the executive committee, but vacates office during a term if that person resigns as mayor or deputy mayor.”

He further quoted section 32 of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA), which says, “Any political office bearer or official of a municipality who deliberately or negligently made or authorized a fruitless and wasteful expenditure is liable for that expenditure,” and, “A municipality must recover unauthorized, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure from the person liable for that expenditure.”

“Despite advice provided by the municipal attorneys on May 16, no measures were taken to discontinue or recover the benefits and allowances applicable for performing mayoral duties,” concluded Mr Ntanzi.

Mr Ntanzi recommended that the council seek to recover the R204 132.67, that the municipality had paid to Cllr Mtshali, from Mr Zulu and consider placing charges for financial misconduct with the Vryheid SAPS.

Mr Zulu said the timing of this action was “very convenient,” and “a wonderful coincidence,” as he had just lodged an objection to the appointment of the Director of Planning, a position which he had applied for.

“I tried to table the matter of Cllr Mtshali’s resignation before council and I was stopped by the politicians. I wrote an item for the agenda long ago but the item was withdrawn from the council agenda until Cllr Mtshali passed away. The municipal manager advised the council to take a decision to write off this debt. Just because I objected to the appointment of the Director of Planning, all this comes out. I will not let them use me as a scapegoat. This is just a political game they are playing, because of my membership with the ANC. I will wait for the charges to come. I am sitting at home with no job so I don’t know what they will recover,” said Mr Zulu.

  AUTHOR
Estella Naicker

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