EFF in Nelson Mandela Bay calls for special council meeting to discuss city manager’s fraud charges | News24

EFF in Nelson Mandela Bay calls for special council meeting to discuss city manager's fraud charges | News24

Nelson Mandela Bay speaker Eugene Johnson.

Nelson Mandela Bay speaker Eugene Johnson.

Photo: Lulama Zenzile/Netwerk24

  • There have been continued calls for an urgent special council meeting to be held in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro.
  • This to discuss allegations of fraud and corruption against the city manager.
  • But according to the speaker, regulations must be adhered to before such a meeting could be called.

Calls are mounting for an urgent special council meeting to be held in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro to discuss whether disciplinary steps should be taken against city manager Noxolo Nqwazi.

In the latest move, regional EFF leader Khanya Ngqisha, who is a member of the coalition government, asked for a special meeting to discuss the issue, but a week later, speaker Eugene Johnson has still not made a decision.

Nqwazi is currently out on bail following her arrest on charges of fraud and corruption late last year.

This due to her alleged involvement in a toilet tender contract of more than R24 million that was allegedly fraudulently awarded by the municipality three years ago. 

In its motion, the EFF said Nqwazi, as the accounting officer, must be held liable particularly for the R3 million golden handshake that was given to the new CEO of the Mandela Bay Development Agency, Anele Qaba.

There has been controversy surrounding Qaba’s appointment four months after the municipality reached a settlement with him to leave his position as executive director for economic development, tourism and agriculture due to alleged financial misconduct.

This appointment, among others, has led to National Treasury withholding more than R700 million in equitable share grant funding from the metro.

READ | R24m toilet tender: Pressure piles on Nelson Mandela Bay to act against corruption accused city manager

In a letter written to the municipality last month, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said the golden handshake was “fruitless and wasteful expenditure” and needed to be recovered.

Ngqisha claimed Nqwazi contravened several sections of the Municipal Finance Management Act by agreeing to the R3 million being paid to Qaba as well as allegedly not ensuring the municipality did not waste money.

She said her alleged misconduct was not brought to be discussed before the council within the necessary seven days after the alleged offence.

The EFF’s motion recommended Nqwazi should face disciplinary action, and the process must be overseen by Mayor Gary van Niekerk.

Last Friday, Ngqisha also approached Van Niekerk to request the speaker should call an urgent special council meeting.

Van Niekerk forwarded this request to the speaker.

Johnson, however, is unfazed by the motion and said no councillor could just decide on a whim to file motions for special council meetings and expect it to happen immediately.

READ | Agency calls on Nelson Mandela Bay to rein in city manager over threat to dissolve board

She told News24 she must still apply her mind to the matter and decide how important the motion was.

Johnson said a motion was normally urgent, for instance, when something happened that stopped service delivery in its tracks.

According to her, the correct procedure before a special council meeting could be called, was to take this motion to the next general council meeting and have it approved.

She said:

There are certain costs attached to a special council meeting and municipal regulations must also be taken into consideration. This matter must be brought before council first.

Last month, the DA also called for an urgent council meeting to discuss the same issues.

DA caucus chief whip in the metro Georgina Faldtman wrote to Johnson and Van Niekerk for an urgent meeting because of “growing concerns about the impasse between the metro and Treasury” and the subsequent holdout of almost R1 billion.

Johnson said the next council meeting was scheduled for October.

Source: https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/eff-in-nelson-mandela-bay-calls-for-special-council-meeting-to-discuss-city-managers-fraud-charges-20230908