Home News MEC refuses to become embroiled in ’internal matters’ of municipality

MEC refuses to become embroiled in ’internal matters’ of municipality

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The Office of the MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs has indicated that it will not become embroiled in the internal matters at Thembelihle Local Municipality as it may have legal implications.

Coghsta MEC Bentley Vass. File picture

THE OFFICE of the MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) has indicated that it will not become embroiled in the internal matters at Thembelihle Local Municipality as it may have legal implications.

The Speaker of Thembelihle Municipality, Danny Jonas, met with the MEC for Cogstha last month requesting urgent intervention to restore political stability at the municipality as it was interfering with service delivery.

Jonas stated that the contract of the acting municipal manager and chief financial officer (CFO), Radile Shuping, had ended on December 31, 2021, while his contract was then extended without a council mandate for another three months by a select group of ANC councillors.

He claimed that the acting municipal manager undermined requests and instructions from the mayor and Speaker.

“The officials only implement ANC political mandates, while irregular appointments were authorised.”

Jonas stated that the MEC had declared the appointment of the corporate services manager as “null and void” in 2019, while political interference was hampering service delivery.

“With council consisting of five ANC councillors, three EFF, one Siyathemba Community Movement, one DA and one FF+ councillor, the council is rendered unstable and cannot function normally.”

He said a motion of no confidence was brought against the mayor, Leonard Makena, on December 20, 2021, where the council meeting descended into chaos.

“An illegal council meeting was apparently held during which the mayor was removed and the CFO’s contract extended for another three months without following proper procedures.“

Jonas stated that the Northern Cape High Court overturned the outcome of the meeting, restoring the mayor to his rightful position, while the Speaker was restored to his position on February 11.

“A law firm, Herman van Heerden and advocates, was appointed without a council mandate to interdict four councillors from being within 50 metres of the municipality.

“The Speaker and the mayor have not been able to occupy our offices since we were elected on December 22 and 26, 2021, while the acting municipal manager and corporate services manager refuse to work with us.”

Jonas added that they were also denied access to staff and tools of the trade.

“This renders the situation unbearable and frustrating.”

Jonas said that a motion of no confidence was “fabricated” against him by five ANC councillors on January 21.

“These factors are hampering the delivery of services in Hopetown and Strydenburg; the community are suffering because of an arrogant administration and a dysfunctional council. The community suffers because of political interference. The town is dirty, the roads are a mess and our people are jobless and hungry. Too many irregularities in the administration make our municipality a laughing stock. We spend more time in court than serving our people.”

The spokesperson for Coghsta, Babalwa Mzambo, said that the MEC did not get involved in the internal matters of a municipality.

“This could be seen as both legal and administrative overreach,” said Mzambo.

She added that the recruitment process was the responsibility of council and not the MEC.

“The recruitment process in a municipality is a legally regulated process, therefore the MEC cannot be involved in the process.”

She indicated that the MEC had advised all municipalities not to appoint CFOs in an acting capacity to become accounting officers.

“This borders on the ethical management in governance on matters of conflict of interest. As it relates to the appointment of the corporate services manager, it is a known fact that the MEC advised against the appointment of the incumbent. This being because the incumbent is not suitably qualified. It is important to note that only council can re-enact and/or reverse the appointment of both the CFO as an acting municipal manager as well as the current corporate services manager.”

Mzambo added that the court had resolved the matter of the mayor.

“It was in court and the court resolved it. With regards to the Speaker’s position, the matter is currently in court, and the MEC cannot interfere with that process.”

She stated that the MEC would request a report and assess the functionality of the municipality and the impact of service delivery.

“Service delivery is a constitutional right and the MEC takes note of the allegations made by the Speaker of Thembelihle Municipality. The outcome of that assessment will determine the MECs intervention if any needs to be made.”

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