The African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal said that it would haul Umvoti (Greytown) Mayor Thami Ngubane before its executive structure to account on allegations of procurement irregularities in the municipality.
Last week, protestors marched to Ngubane’s offices, accusing of him of corruption and calling for his removal.
This came after it emerged that over R11 million or just under 5% of the municipality’s budget for the last financial year had been spent in protecting Ngubane and seven other officials.
On Thursday, Ngubane hosted a media briefing seeking to clear his name and shared his version of events.
He bashed the marchers as insensitive, saying that he had received death threats and been tipped off about plots to kill him.
“There are people within my own party, the ANC – who have colluded with members of the opposition against me. My life is at risk,” he said.
He said he was justified to receive the protection services at the expense of the municipality of just over 100,000 residents with an annual budget of R330 million.
He admitted that the municipal council had approved a proposal to beef up his and other officials’ security before security threat assessments were completed, but argued this was justified.
“A municipal official Thobani Ndaba died after being shot 21 times at the municipal offices. I could not wait to have the security threat assessment completed before I beefed up my security. If I had done that, I would have been dead by now,” said Ngubane.
When Eyewitness News asked Ngubane if he had informed senior ANC officials in the province about threats on his life and the amount the municipality was spending in protecting him, he said the party was aware of the political violence at Umvoti but he had not formally told the party of his security threats.
ANC KZN spokesperson Ricardo Mthembu said the party in the province was shocked that the mayor hosted a media briefing yesterday without the knowledge of senior officials.
Mthembu said that while the ANC understood the threats of political violence in the municipality following the tragic shooting of an official last year, proper procedure should always be followed where ratepayers’ money was spent.
“We are taking the threats seriously because we have been observing the killing of councillors in the province. We cannot undermine that someone is receiving threats. But receiving threats does not mean that we must take shortcuts on things that will be seen irregularities in future,” said Mthembu.
Mthembu said that Ngubane would be called, together with other executive council deployees at the municipality, to account on recent events.
“We are going to be looking at Ngubane and other municipal executives. They need to inform us if the manner in which they are operating in the municipality is in the best interest of the community and the
ANC. If any wrongdoing by any individual has been found, the ANC will deal with it decisively,” said Mthembu.
Mthembu has also called on the provincial department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to intervene in the municipality.
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