NMBRA and AfriForum PE to hold Metro officials accountable in Msengana-Ndlela debacle

MAY 20, 2015

The Nelson Mandela Bay Ratepayers Association and AfriForum Port Elizabeth say they are going to hold Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality officials to account after the High Court on Tuesday ruled that the municipality pay former Municipal Manager, Lindiwe Msengana-Ndlela, over R3 million in damages.

“The NMB Ratepayers Association and AfriForum PE made it clear at the time when Dr  Lindiwe Msengana-Ndlela was victimized by politicians and NMBM officials that we will hold them accountable in their private capacity if she was forced out of her position,” said NMBRA Chairperson, Kobus Gerber.

Msengana-Ndlela reportedly claims she was told to vacate her position by now-former Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Benson Fihla, and his then deputy, Chippa Ngcolomba. She said that the threats against her were such that she resigned five months into her five-year tenure.

She has since moved on to serve as an advisor in the office of Science and Technology Minister, Naledi Pandor.

“At the time, we also requested the MEC to intervene but she was left with no option but to resign,” said Gerber.

“Our legal team is now waiting for the final judgment  to sue all politicians and officials in order to recover all ratepayers monies that have been wasted due to the  interferences by the politicians and officials.”

However, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality on Tuesday said that it was studying the ruling and denied her allegations of political interference in her work.

"The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has noted the high court ruling in the application brought against the municipality by former City Manager, Ms Msengana-Ndlela," said Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality  Director of Communications, Roland Williams.

"Our legal team is currently studying the ruling/judgement and will advise the City Manager as to what (legal) steps or action should follow. "We are thus unable to comment further on the judgement."

He said that with regard to the allegations made by Msengana-Ndlela on the appointment of MKMVA veterans, the Executive Mayor vehemently denies having made such impositions on the City Manager.

"It is on public record that the Executive Mayor, in his 100 days programme, outlined various priority projects and undertakings, including the establishment of a Mayoral Protection Unit. The recruitment for this Unit was to follow the official selection and recruitment policy.

"The Executive Mayor is not aware of any instance where he or any of his colleagues on the Mayoral Committee made or insinuated any threats on the person of Msengana-Ndlela.  As a veteran of the struggle against apartheid and the fight for freedom for freedom and democracy in South Africa, Oom Ben (as he is fondly known) often recounted episodes of the struggle. Such recollections cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be construed to be a direct threat to any person. The application in this respect is opportunistic," Williams said.

"Oom Ben remains a respected, disciplined veteran who always preaches and adheres to principles of peace, tolerance, non-violence and discipline. In fact, Oom Ben has never even referred to Ms Msengana-Ndlela by name, always preferring to address her by her official title as City Manager.

"Media and stakeholders are reminded that the matter of a settlement with the former City Manager was brought to the attention of Council, where it was formally tabled. The Council then took a decision that no settlement should be made and that the Legal Office must defend any claim for a settlement, as Council understood that Ms Msengana-Ndlela had resigned.

"The political leadership categorically denies interfering in the administration."