Umhlathuze accuses Mtolo of defamation

The IFP-led city of uMhlathuze, on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal, has served ANC provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo with a letter of demand.

The municipality wants Mtolo to apologise for accusing the party of using the municipality as its piggybank.

On Tuesday, the city, which has the second-biggest economy in the province, held an urgent media briefing. It claimed that, contrary to what Mtolo claimed, its finances were in order.

Mtolo recently alleged that mayor Xolani Ngwezi and his party were using the municipality as a piggybank.

“While individuals like Mr Mtolo are often best ignored, the risk of allowing misinformation to gain traction in our society, where falsehoods can carry more weight than the truth, necessitates a response.

Healthy finances

“Our finances are healthy, as evidenced by the latest Auditor-General’s report. The municipality manages public funds prudently, and we urge individuals to rely on reports from credible state institutions like the AG rather than Mr Mtolo, who has discredited himself over the years,” said Ngwezi.

Additionally, he said the most recent clean audit status that the city had recorded demonstrated that the finances were in good hands.

“UMhlathuze’s finances are very well managed. We are proud to say that we are one of the very few municipalities that have once again received a clean audit for this year, like we did last year as well.

“I am proud to mention that the City of uMhlathuze Municipality is also the only secondary city in the whole of South Africa whose 2023–2024 annual budget is declared fundable and funded by the National Treasury,” he said.

City manager Nkoyenye Zulu said the municipality has since issued a letter of demand to Mtolo ordering him to make a public apology, failing which he will face legal action.

Richards Bay is the seat of Umhlathuze municipality.

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