Ex-acting city manager facing suspension

Nelson Mandela Bay sports, recreation, arts and culture executive director Noxolo Nqwazi is facing suspension.
SITTING TIGHT: Nelson Mandela Bay sports, recreation, arts and culture executive director Noxolo Nqwazi is facing suspension.
Image: WERNER HILLS

The Nelson Mandela Bay mayoral committee has recommended former acting city manager Noxolo Nqwazi be placed on precautionary suspension pending the outcome of an internal investigation following allegations of financial misconduct.

The recommendation was contained in a confidential report compiled by Bay acting mayor Thsonono Buyeye which was presented to the mayoral committee.

Council would need to approve the recommendation before Nqwazi can be placed on precautionary suspension.

Previously, council speaker Buyelwa Mafaya said the next scheduled council meeting was on September 30.

On Sunday, Nqwazi labelled the allegations against her as “bull***t”.

In his report, Buyeye alleged there were serious allegations, as well as prima facie evidence that certain senior officials, particularly, Nqwazi were implicated in the Mohlaleng Media and City of Champions forensic investigation reports.

It is alleged she approved irregular and fraudulent payments to the companies.

Mohlaleng, a Johannesburg-based company, was given a multimillion-rand communications tender in 2015.

A year-and-a-half into the contract, the city had given the firm carte blanche to spend after lifting the cap on what was initially a R10m tender.

Halfway into the contract, the firm had already spent R20.8m , prompting former mayor Athol Trollip to freeze the contract and launch a forensic inquiry.

Buyeye wrote that allegations of misconduct against Nqwazi were brought to his attention on May 6 and ultimately to the attention of the municipal council via a motion of exigency.

The motion was tabled by the EFF during the June 29 council meeting where it resolved that a forensic report conducted by PWC and Brown Braude and Vlok would be tabled within seven days at the next council meeting.

“Unfortunately months have lapsed after the council has taken such a decision, resulting in delays in submissions of such forensic reports to council.

“In terms of the disciplinary regulations for senior managers, the city manager is legally obliged to bring these allegations of serious misconduct to the attention of council within seven days after receipt thereof.

“There is reasonable cause to believe, on the basis of the information obtained in forensic reports conducted by PWC and Brown, Braude and Vlok that Noxolo Nqwazi allegedly committed various acts of serious misconduct,” Buyeye said in the report.

Buyeye said subsequent to the reports not being presented to council, the municipality conducted its own preliminary investigation in an attempt to ascertain the rationale for the non-submission of the forensic reports by municipal officials to council.

“It emerged that some municipal employees are deeply involved in suppressing the submission of such forensic investigative reports to council,” he said.

Buyeye wrote that the acting city manager must take all necessary steps to ensure all other affected municipal employees were subjected to the internal disciplinary processes, with immediate effect.

Speaking to The Herald on Sunday, the Bay’s executive director of sports, recreation, arts and culture said instead of following proper procedure and tabling the allegations and reports that allegedly implicated her, more allegations were directed at her every other day.

“Next time, I’m going to be accused of rape and murder. This is bull***t,” Nqwazi said.

Buyeye declined to comment and said the report was on green paper, which was confidential.

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