Opposition parties in Msunduzi question Scelo Duma’s departure from his post

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Opposition parties in the Msunduzi municipality, in Pietermaritzburg, want to know why the municipal administrator, Scelo Duma, suddenly left his post without having concluded his tusk.

Duma was appointed by the Department of Cooperative Government in KwaZulu-Natal in 2020 in an effort to save the cash-strapped municipality and restore good governance.

During a council meeting on Tuesday, Duma’s resignation letter was read. The municipality has been in the red, at times unable to pay its creditors on time and struggling to collect monies owed to it.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) say they are in the dark as to why Duma suddenly resigned without any explanation from the MEC for Cooperative Governance in KwaZulu-Natal Sipho Hlomuka.

Duma was brought in the municipality when the institution to take over from the previous administrator who also did not complete his work of stabilising both finances and governance.

Since 2010, there have been four  appointments of administrators in the municipality. The IFP says his sudden departure has left them in the dark.

IFP party caucus Chairperson in uMsunduzi municipality,  Thinasonke Ntombela says, “We thought that Cogta should be the one who was supposed to come and explain to the council as they were the one who brought the administrator. So, this has disappointed us that Mr Duma did this by himself without Cogta. So, there were terms and references when uMsunduzi was placed under administration so now we want to know how far he has gone so that the one who will take over will be in position to know where he should take the municipality to.”

The DA says they want MEC for cooperative governance to explain to the council the reasons for Duma’s departure. DA whip in uMsunduzi Bongumusa Nhlabathi believes the municipality still needs to be under administration, citing that the institution is still in a dire situation.

Nhlabathi says, “So, we believe that his sudden resignation was due to the fact that he did not find joy working with the leadership of the municipality. From 2019 since we have been under administration the service delivery has gotten worse in terms of the ground. As far as the residents are concerned, they have not seen any change…”

“As far as structural reform in terms of administration there was change. Because infrastructure in uMsunduzi is collapsing, whether it is electricity, whether its water or whether it is roads, you have more potholes now compared to 2019 when an administrator came,” added Nhlabathi.

The spokesperson for the Department of Cooperative Governance in KwaZulu-Natal Nonala Ndlovu says Msunduzi remains under administration.

She says the Duma has returned to his position within the department.

Ndlovu says, “We can confirm that uMsunduzi remains under administration, what has happened is that Mr Duma has stepped down as ministerial representative and has gone back to his normal duties within the department. What the department is currently doing is in the process of identifying a new ministerial representative who will take over the baton from Mr. Duma.”

Duma’s departure comes just one month after Municipal Manager Madoda Khathide resigned to take up a position in the provincial department of cooperative governance.

In 2021 Courts found the uMsunduzi Municipality violated the Constitution for the poor management…