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NC municipality without a manager … again

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Picture: Supplied

Staff members at Phokwane Local Municipality are concerned that they may not receive their salaries this month after Frances Baard District Municipality recalled the acting municipal manager, Kealeboga Gaborone.

STAFF members at Phokwane Local Municipality are concerned that they may not receive their salaries this month after Frances Baard District Municipality recalled the acting municipal manager, Kealeboga Gaborone.

Gaborone had applied for the position of municipal manager, but Zithuele Nikani was appointed on September 13. However, according to a court order obtained by the EFF last week, Nikani has been interdicted from executing his duties as municipal manager.

The court ordered that the acting municipal manager (Gaborone) be reinstated.

Municipal employees pointed out that, in terms of the court order, Gaborone was the only official with the authority to sign off payrolls, which closed on September 15.

Staff members also stated that Gaborone was still occupying her office at Phokwane Municipality.

“Some councillors confiscated her keys in an attempt to prevent her from entering her office on Tuesday. There was a big commotion in the office, where everyone was sent home early as there were no cars parked outside the premises.”

The spokesperson for Frances Baard District Municipality (FBDM), Gerline Roman, said that Gaborone was an employee who was seconded to Phokwane Municipality to assist until a municipal manager was appointed.

“The current ensuing court challenges concerning the irregularity with the appointment of a municipal manager for the Phokwane Local Municipality is of grave concern to us,” said Roman. “It also became more worrisome that Gaborone had a direct interest in the candidacy for the position of municipal manager at Phokwane Local Municipality.”

Roman added that the possible conflict of interest could cause reputational damage to the leadership at both the district municipality and Phokwane Municipality.

“This goes against the intention of her secondment to Phokwane Local Municipality and the role that she was supposed to play as an employee seconded from Frances Baard District Municipality to the Phokwane Local Municipality.”

Roman stated that the FBDM council informed the MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) of its resolution to withdraw the secondment of Gaborone.

“We have instructed her to report back to her original duties at the Frances Baard District Municipality as from September 14.

“To date, she has not reported back at the district municipality as resolved by council.

“All other matters that we did not answer in our response are of an internal nature directly related to the Phokwane Local Municipality and, as such, the district municipality is not privy to these matters,” Roman concluded.

Coghsta spokesperson Babalwa Mzambo said that the decision was taken by the council.

“Gaborone’s term has come to an end, thus the secondment was withdrawn.”

Coghsta last week indicated that it was not necessary for Gaborone’s contract to be extended and that she was the acting municipal manager.

Phokwane Municipality did not respond to media enquiries.

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