They want me dead, says suspended Msunduzi municipal manager

In a dramatic turn of events, suspended ANC-led Msunduzi municipal manager Lulamile Mapholoba has made an impassioned plea, saying his life is under threat.

“I have already opened a case with the police. I have been getting calls, and my life is in great danger. They want to kill me. I can’t even leave my house or go to the mall,” lamented Mapholoba.

 Mapholoba’s woes come after the ANC-led municipality based in Pietermaritzburg resolved last week to suspend him pending an investigation into his alleged wayward behaviour.

Despite strong opposition, mainly from the DA and the IFP, the ANC managed to push the motion through.

The two opposition parties cited procedural grounds as the reason not to back the move.

Some of the charges levelled against Mapholoba include gross dishonesty, failure to act in the interests of the council and insubordination.

 But Mapholoba said the charges were trumped up because he refused to bow to political pressure. “My only sin was to stop the wrong things that were happening. There were officials who are currently imprisoned, but they were paid their salaries and incentives.

Some even claimed overtime pay while in prison. It was tantamount to fraud and corruption, and I stopped it,” he explained.

 He also claimed that the ANC was at the centre of milking the troubled council to the ground.  “I was seen as a hindrance. So, I had to be taken out,” he said.

 But mayor Mzi Thebolla would not be drawn into commenting about Mapholoba’s allegations, instead, he said the probe will give a clearer indication of Mapholoba’s fate. “He was suspended by the council on serious allegations. They are being investigated. The conclusion of the investigation will give us  proper direction,” said Thebolla.

 The beleaguered municipality, located in the capital of KwaZulu-Natal, has been under administration since 2019.

 On Friday, it was dealt another blow when the ratepayers’ association wrote to Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Thembi Nkadimeng, asking for her intervention.

 “There is a need for urgent intervention because the city is collapsing right before our eyes. Political interference and misuse of public funds are at the heart of this dying municipality. With the suspension of the city manager, things will escalate to a point of no return,” said Santosh Moodley of the ratepayers’ association.

 Mapholoba was recently the municipal manager of the city of uMhlathuze, on the north coast of KZN, but vacated his post when the IFP administration took over the reins after the 2012 elections.

He has also been the accounting officer at Mandeni and uMzimkhulu municipalities, among others.

 Msunduzi recently caused an uproar when it announced a R27-million sponsorship deal for the PSL football outfit Royal AM. The club is owned by businesswoman and multimillionaire Shawn Mkhize, who is known to be politically connected.

The funds were to reward the club for playing its football matches in the local Harry Gwala stadium. The matter is still the subject of court proceedings.

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