THE Nelson Mandela Bay metro has been dealt a blow, after recently appointed municipal manager Lindiwe Msengana-Ndlela resigned on Wednesdya.
Eastern Cape local government MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane said Ms Msengana-Ndlela’s premature departure, just five months after she was appointed, was “regrettable”. He described her as “a solid, consummate professional in the local government sector”.
No reasons were given for Ms Msengana-Ndlela’s resignation.
Nelson Mandela Bay is the sixth-biggest of South Africa’s eight metros. It is also home to the province’s automotive manufacturing hub in Port Elizabeth.
Before Ms Msengana-Ndlela’s appointment the metro went for three years without a permanent municipal manager.
Ms Msengana-Ndlela had a baptism of fire soon. In May she had a public disagreement with executive mayor Nen Fihla, who was appointed about a month before her.
The two smoked a peace pipe following intervention by the governing African National Congress (ANC).
In June, Ms Msengana-Ndlela was hauled before court, with the opposition United Democratic Movement claiming she did not meet the minimum requirements the Treasury had set for a municipal manager at metro level.
The court dismissed the request for an urgent interdict.
Service delivery had also been on a decline, with an increasing number of protests recorded in 2013 in the metro.
Tension between the ANC in the Nelson Mandela Bay region, led by chairman Nceba Faku, and the party’s representatives in the municipality were among the reasons for the slowdown of service delivery in the metro.
The ANC scraped through to win the metro with 50% of the votes in the 2011 municipal elections, down from 63% in 2006.
Mr Qoboshiyane said on Wednesday that “those remaining in the employ of the municipality must work harder with their councillors to meet the needs of the local community”.
“The municipality — supported by the department — will in due course announce an equally competent person to act as the municipal manager until a suitable candidate has filled the position,” he said.
In May, Ms Msengana-Ndlela reportedly said she had hit a brick wall in her efforts to tackle poor financial management and increase accountability.
She blamed political interference and intimidation.
Ms Msengana-Ndlela had reportedly complained that interference by executive mayor Nkosinathi Benson Fihla and deputy mayor Thando Ngcolomba was making her job unbearable and putting her security at risk.