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Sithole parts ways with Sol

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The manager of local economic development, Phetole Sithole, has parted ways with Sol Plaatje Municipality after a mutual separation agreement was signed.

Phetole Sithole has stepped down from his position at Sol Plaatje Municipality. Picture: Sandi Kwon Hoo

THE MANAGER of local economic development, Phetole Sithole, has parted ways with Sol Plaatje Municipality after a mutual separation agreement was signed.

Sithole became embroiled in a bitter dispute after refusing to authorise a R4.2 million payment to a service provider for site establishment at the Roodepan pump station as another service provider had already been paid R2.2 million for the same purpose.

Sithole had also raised concerns regarding the contractor’s tax status and compliance with supply chain management processes.

Cases were also lodged with the Hawks, Public Protector and Special Investigating Unit (SIU) last year regarding a R25 million tender that was awarded to the same service provider for the upgrading of the Legaeng and Eagle Street pump stations in Roodepan as well as a water and sanitation project in Lerato Park.

Sithole was suspended in April 2023 and charged for the alleged irregular appointment of the tourism manager, Neo Poolo, in 2012, as well as for allegedly interfering with a witness in his disciplinary hearing.

Sithole’s legal representative, advocate Lindokuhle Dlamini, indicated this week that his client was cleared of all charges, while his contract was terminated with immediate effect.

“A severance package was negotiated, however, the value thereof is confidential,” said Dlamini.

He added that both parties had parted ways amicably.

“The ongoing disciplinary hearings that could potentially drag on for years would have had cost implications for my client as I am from Johannesburg and additional expenses were incurred for travelling and postponements.

“Based on the mandate that was given that my client should be dismissed from the municipality, we agreed that it would be in his best interests to enter into a mutual agreement.”

Dlamini earlier this month wanted to apply for the chairperson of the disciplinary hearing to recuse himself, as he believed that he was biased and that the charges against his client were fabricated.

“It was like heading towards a cliff – it would be a question of falling off the edge now or later.”

He stated that the agreement that was signed, presented Sithole with a clean slate, where he was free to apply for any position at Sol Plaatje Municipality.

“Sithole has already applied for a higher position at the municipality and with his skills and experience, he stands a good chance of being recruited.”

Sol Plaatje Municipality had not responded to media enquiries by the time of publication.

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