Lindiwe Sisulu Appoints Interim Board for Umgeni Water

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The Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu said the appointment of a permanent board would be expedited.

SANDILE MOTHA

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has appointed an interim structure after dissolving the current uMngeni Water Board in KwaZulu Natal.

Inside Metros understands the decision to dissolve the board was taken last week.

The board was appointed by Sisulu’s predecessor, Gugile Nkwinti.

Sisulu dissolved the board on July 31, claiming its members had been appointed irregularly by her predecessor, Gugile Nkwinti, who had extended their term by four years in May last year.

Sisulu said Nkwinti erred in this decision as it did not go through Cabinet, the prerequisite legislative requirement for the appointment of board members in government entities.

uMngeni Water is the second largest water entity in the country after Gauteng’s Rand Water.

Its annual turnover is estimated to be over R2.4 billion.

Last week uMngeni Water, together with eight other water boards, appeared before the parliamentary portfolio committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) seeking the approval of a 9.6 % water tariff.

The request was, however, rejected by MPs.

Yonela Diko, departmental spokesperson, confirmed the sacking of the board to Inside Metros, saying an interim structure will be put in place until a process of appointing a new board has been completed.

“The minister felt that the board was not properly constituted as it was not approved by cabinet. The services of the board members is terminated with immediate effect and an interim board will take over,” explained Diko.

He added that the interim structure will cease to exist once a permanent board has been duly appointed.

The interim board comprises chairperson Magasela Mzobeand deputy chairpersonThabo Johannes Tselane, as well asVuyani Ndara; Sydney James; Mlamli Thembinkosi Magigaba; Bheki Innocent Dladla; Pretty Ntombela; Unathi Mhlope; Boy Manqoba Ngubo; Linda Ngcobo; and Sindisiwe Fortunate Getyeza.

However, the axed board members are not barred from submitting their applications for consideration when the vacancy for the new board is advertised.  

“The Minister would like to reiterate that there was no charges of corruption or misconduct against the board. The decision to terminate their services was purely based on a procedural matter and as such they can still reapply for consideration in the new board,” said Diko.

A board member who spoke to Inside Metros on condition of anonymity said Sisulu’s decision to axe them was harsh and unreasonable.

“Common sense dictates that the minister should have submitted the names of the existing board members to cabinet for approval instead of starting the process from scratch,” said the livid outgoing board member.

uMngeni Water board is the third to be shown the door after Amatola in the Eastern Cape and the Lepelle Northern Water in Limpopo.

The two water entities were put under administration and they are being investigated by the Special Investigation Unit on corruption and fraud allegations.  

(COMPILED BY INSIDE METROS STAFF)

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