Michael Sutcliffe

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Michael Sutcliffe is the former municipal manager[1] of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality (population 4 million), which includes the city of Durban, South Africa. He has been widely reported to be a controversial figure amongst Durbanites[2] and has been the target of popular protest in the city.[3]

Deployed to the position in 2002 by the ruling African National Congress, he oversaw the municipality's successful preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and was involved in controversy regarding street renamings, the loss of the city's Blue Flag beach status,[4] illegally banning protests,[5] banning posters,[6] serious human rights abuses in the city's housing program,[7] the failed privatisation of the city's bus system[8] allegations of spin-doctoring,[9] the unprofitable uShaka Marine World,[10] threats to withdraw advertising from newspapers employing journalists critical of the municipality,[11] lack of action against environmental destruction,[12] favoritism toward ANC-aligned individuals and businesses[13] - including S'bu and Shauwn Mpisane, the latter a convicted fraudster[14] - unlawful and at times violent violations of the basic rights of street traders[15] and shack dwellers[16][17] and corruption.[18][19][20]

In March 2011 the Sunday Times reported that he is under investigation for irregularities in housing contracts.[21][22] Sutcliffe has denied that there has been fraud but has admitted to 'financial irregularities'.[23]

Sutcliffe formerly held the position of chairperson of the Municipal Demarcation Board and was a member of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature.

Born in Addington Hospital, Durban, he has a PhD in geography from Ohio State University.[24] In 2008 he received an award from the Association of American Geographers for distinguished public service.[25]


  1. ^ A look back at Sutcliffe’s tenure, by Nondumiso Mbuyazi, Daily News, 29 December 2011
  2. ^ A look back at Sutcliffe’s tenure, by Nondumiso Mbuyazi, Daily News, 29 December 2011
  3. ^ March on Mlaba & Sutcliffe 21 March 2011, Abahlali baseMjondolo
  4. ^ The big stink over Durban beachfronts, Niren Tolsi, Mail & Guardian, 2008
  5. ^ Mike Sutcliffe Bans another Abahlali baseMjondolo March, Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, 2010
  6. ^ The poster boy for political censorship, Paddy Harper, The Sunday Times, 2009
  7. ^ Abahlali baseMjondolo & the Popular Struggle for the Right to the City in Durban, South Africa, Richard Pithouse, Llamiento, 2010
  8. ^ Sutcliffe’s Achilles heel?, Sam Sole, Mail & Guardian, 2009
  9. ^ Struggle Is a School: The Rise of a Shack Dwellers’ Movement in Durban, South Africa, Richard Pithouse, Monthly Review, 2006
  10. ^ Durban bleeds municipal funds, Niren Tolsi, Mail & Guardian, 4 February 2011
  11. ^ Response to Daily News, Michael Sutcliffe, 2005
  12. ^ Extensive damage to grassland in Motala Heights and disregard for the law – offender must be prosecuted, Warrick Chapman, 2011
  13. ^ Sutcliffe: "I want to Stay", Mathew Savides
  14. ^ The rise and fall of Shauwn and S’bu Mpisane, Durban’s Teflon Couple, Nikki Moore, The Daily Maverick, 11 February 2011
  15. ^ Criminalising the Livelihoods of the Poor: The impact of formalising informal trading on female and migrant traders in Durban by Blessing Karumbidza, Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (February 2011)
  16. ^ South Africa: Business as Usual - housing rights and slum eradication in Durban Archived 2013-08-26 at the Wayback Machine., Centre on Housing Rights & Evictions, Geneva, 2008
  17. ^ Open Letter to Obed Mlaba and Michael Sutcliffe, Centre on Housing Rights & Evictions, Geneva, 2007
  18. ^ Hawks set to arrest top eThekwini officials, BONGANI MTHETHWA and MANDLA ZULU, Sunday Times, 5 March 2011
  19. ^ ANC chief's fat-cat deals, By Wendy Jasson da Costa, IOL, 12 March 2011
  20. ^ eThekwini manager under fire, Niren Tolsi, Mail & Guardian, March 2011
  21. ^ Hawks set to arrest top eThekwini officials, BONGANI MTHETHWA and MANDLA ZULU, Sunday Times, 5 March 2011
  22. ^ NAIR, NIVASHNI (2011). "Durban's Sutcliffe waits for verdict - Times LIVE". timeslive.co.za. Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  23. ^ Sutcliffe says cheers, Zara Mohamed Teke, Daily News, December 2011
  24. ^ http://www.whoswhosa.co.za/user/8046
  25. ^ Association of American Geographers