Corruption Watch can confirm that eThekwini Municipality’s decision to appoint Slindokuhle Hadebe as deputy city manager for human settlements and infrastructure has been reversed.
In December 2012 it was reported that Hadebe had been named the new chief of the housing and infrastructure department despite him being on suspension from another municipality due to a probe into tender fraud.
Mayor James Nxumalo was quoted in local newspaper The Mercury at the time as saying the interviewing panel was not aware of Hadebe’s suspension.
eThekwini spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng told Corruption Watch in March 2013 that his municipality was unaware of the charges against Hadebe when he was considered for the position. As a result, the appointment has been reversed and the position is currently being re-advertised.
In December 2012, Corruption Watch gave eThekwini the zero title for employing Hadebe amid damning allegations of corruption and fraud.
This is what we wrote at the time:
A decision to appoint Slindokuhle Hadebe to the eThekwini municipality, despite his suspension by another municipality in relation to an investigation into tender fraud, earns the Durban council zero of the week status.
Ekurhuleni Metro Municipality suspended Hadebe in July this year from his post as chief director of water and sanitation. According to municipal spokesperson Sam Modiba, he is still drawing his salary while the matter is pending. His suspension – along with that of four other officials – came after the council commissioned the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) to probe tender fraud in the water meter tendering process in which he was involved, The Star newspaper reported on Thursday, 13 December.
“The SIU was roped in to assist with the investigation, and the suspensions will last until the investigations are finalised and the disciplinary hearings are conducted,” explained Modiba. He added that the council was not aware of Hadebe’s appointment at eThekwini.
DA executive committee member in eThekwini, Tex Collins, who was on the panel that interviewed Hadebe, told The Mercury that Hadebe was not his first choice for the appointment. “The failure to disclose this information during the interviewing process is considered a very serious omission specifically engineered to ensure a favourable result,” he said, “and one which renders his pending appointment null and void.”
Collins has written to Nxumalo and municipal manager Sbu Sithole citing his party’s grievances regarding the appointment. The post has been vacant since June, when eThekwini decided not to renew the contract of then chief of department, Derek Naidoo, following the release of the Manase report into fraud and corruption in the municipality.
The audit, by Manase and Associates, was undertaken after a finding by auditor-general Terence Nombembe in his 2009/10 report of irregular spending by eThekwini of R532-million. The full report has not been made public, as the ANC in Durban – through its chairman, Sibogniseni Dlomo – felt that it would be unfair to the parties involved in the findings of Nombembe’s report, and would endanger the interests of the municipality.
Corruption Watch contacted eThekwini municipal spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng for comment, but had not received a response at the time of publishing the initial zero feature in December 2012.