Mangwe Rural District Council (RDC) Chief Executive officer, Bongani Ngwenya, has been accused of maladministration and failure to adequately use devolution funds to improve service delivery in the district.
Sources who spoke to this publication described Ngwenya as an authoritative leader.
“The CEO has an authoritative type of leadership, whatever he says goes, even when Heads of Departments (HODs) advise him he doesn’t listen. He literally runs everything, he is the treasurer, administrator, procurement all in one,” said the sources.
The sources said they have tried to raise their concerns with councillors but there hasn’t been a positive outcome.
They even sent an anonymous letter to the Mangwe District Development Coordinator Rorisang Makhurane in 2021 highlighting their grievances but nothing happened.
“Another letter was sent to the provincial offices in Gwanda in 2022 but nothing was done. In a normal situation, these grievances should be investigated but we did not receive any joy,” the sources alleged.
The sources added that the staff members had a meeting with the Human Resources (HR) department but the Mangwe RDC Council Chairperson Sindisiwe Nleya said, “we were not supposed to meet the HR and we were supposed to write a letter to the CEO through the HR office.”
Ngwenya is also accused of usurping the function of the HR department like hiring staff.
“The CEO is the one doing recruitments, taking over the HR’s functions, he hires even unqualified people. There is favouritism at work, creating division between workmates, and we are demotivated to work. There have been many issues concerning the staff since the CEO arrived. It’s the first time the council has been taken to the labour court since his appointment,” said the sources.
“This is affecting service delivery especially when it comes to devolution funds, we feel the money was wasted.”
The sources claimed that building material that was bought using devolution funds in 2019 is still lying idle.
‘Some material is being kept by different villagers. We don’t even know whether everything is still there and those are public funds which are being wasted.
“We have a clinic in Izimnyama, which is the CEO’s home area and it has been under construction since 2019 when we first received the devolution funds and up to now, it is still under construction using devolution funds, it’s been four years now, someone is benefitting from that project,” they said.
The RDC is even failing to purchase equipment, we have only one grader, and the CEO stalled the process of purchasing service delivery vehicles. We are rendered immobile to do service delivery in our rural community and the community has raised concerns.
“We see other councils using devolution funds to purchase vehicles but nothing for us. In 2020, three council vehicles were sold and they bought a motorbike which was not being utilised until recently.”
Villagers also complained that they are not being consulted during the crafting of the council budget.
“There is a lot that is going on, concerning the budget consultation meetings. They only come to us when they have already sent the budget to the minister, we have been telling them about this but they have never corrected it, they don’t consult us,” said one villager.
“When it comes to devolution funds, as Ngwizi residents, we have always told them to engage us. At the moment they just went on to fence a market area which was not a priority area to us and they engaged an expensive contractor to do that.”
He added, “ There is no transparency in Mangwe RDC, they told us we had US$3 900 cash that was meant for project development in Ngwizi growth point and as residents, we had suggested we buy solar panels to be on standby since during the rainy season we have water challenges. Three years later they are still saying that money is there but we doubt it.”
However, Nleya came to Ngwenya’s defence insisting that she was not aware of the issues raised by the disgruntled employees.
“Who was telling you that, the committees keep their (building) material, the person who was telling you should give you the information since they seem to be aware and we don’t have it as councillors and we know what we are doing,” said Nleya.
She said the local authority currently doesn’t have money from the devolution funds to purchase equipment.
“How can the CEO delay the process of purchasing equipment with the devolution funds because at the moment we don’t even have the money to buy equipment, ask the person who told you whether the money is there in the council coffers. There is a process of devolution funds on how do we report, how do we implement, devolution funds have guidelines on how do we use devolution funds as council, the CEO is our employee, as councillors we are the bosses, we are the ones making resolutions on what to do, the CEO is there to manage and implement our resolutions,” said Nleya.
She said it was the right of the CEO to oversee everything.
“The CEO is the overseer, the treasurer is there, the CEO has the power to monitor and oversee everything, should he degrade his powers, we are in an election mode. We don’t want anything to give us a bad image in Mangwe, we don’t want that.”
“Who is telling you about the committee meeting because it’s a confidential meeting, council works with committees and procedures and regulations with council according to the RDC Act,” said Nleya.
Contacted for a comment, Matabeleland South Provincial Development Coordinator, Latiso Dlamini said she was not aware of the issue.
“When was it sent, can you call the DDC because letters come through the DDC to us,” said Dlamini.
Mangwe District Development Coordinator, Rorisang Makhurane declined to comment on the matter
Ngwenya did not answer his phone and did not respond to questions sent to him on WhatsApp and on Email.