Buffalo City admin boss in firing line

Buffalo City Metro city manager Andile Sihlahla
Buffalo City Metro city manager Andile Sihlahla
Image: DispatchLIVE

The daggers are out for Buffalo City Metro administration boss Andile Sihlahla, with the ANC caucus in the council deeply divided on his future.

Some in the ruling party’s caucus want to see the city manager suspended, while his allies, among them mayor Xola Pakati, are believed to be against this plan.

Sihlahla’s future as BCM’s city manager is set to be discussed during what is expected to be a heated special council meeting on Wednesday.

A number of councillors, both in the ruling party and opposition parties, confirmed that a virtual council meeting last Monday had resolved to instruct Pakati to write a letter to Sihlahla asking him to provide reasons he should not be placed on suspension.

This came after a damning municipal public accounts committee (Mpac) report which painted a dismal picture of operations in the metro under Sihlahla’s care, including audit outcomes which are not improving, as shown by auditor-general Kimi Makwetu.

The metro obtained a qualified audit opinion from Mawetu for its books in the 2018/2019 financial year, an outcome similar to the past two assessments.

The AG has commented negatively on a number of the metro’s strategic objectives.

Numerous attempts to reach Sihlahla for comment were unsuccessful at the weekend, and Pakati refused to discuss the matter on Friday.

Asked whether there has been a council decision instructing him to write to Sihlahla, Pakati said: “The custodian of council resolutions is the speaker [Alfred Mtsi], not me.

“So I think he is best placed to speak to you because council resolutions are supposed to be communicated by him.”

He refused to comment on whether he had written to Sihlahla.

Mtsi could not be reached throughout the weekend.

Council and ANC chief whip Mawethu Marata on Friday confirmed there was a “process” to deal with the city manager, but refused to comment further.

However, some ANC councillors said the party in the metro was divided along factional lines.

A DA councillor said the findings in the Mpac report were “damning against the city manager to such an extent that I do not see him coming out of this one”.

The Mpac report is based on wide-ranging problems highlighted by the AG on the metro’s 2018/2019 annual report, including the findings that 26% of the issues raised reflected repeated transgressions, that information technology use was problematic and systems not integrated, and that Municipal Finance Management Act requirements were not followed in preparing the financial reports.    — Daily Dispatch

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