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Sol acting MM and CEO ‘locked out’

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Instructions were apparently given to change the locks to the offices of the acting chief financial officer (CFO) and the acting municipal manager at Sol Plaatje Municipality

IN A BLATANT act of defiance, instructions were apparently given to change the locks to the offices of the acting chief financial officer (CFO), Zahid Cader, and the acting municipal manager, Thami Mabija, at Sol Plaatje Municipality on Wednesday. 

This came a day after a letter was addressed to “all esteemed councillors” by Sol Plaatje executive mayor Patrick Mabilo, who declared last week’s special council meeting null and void. 

During the special council meeting that was convened on April 29, the city council appointed Boy Dhluwayo as the new acting municipal manager. 

The SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) opened charges of contravening the Disaster Management Act, for convening an illegal gathering during the national lockdown. 

Kenneth Samolapo was appointed as the acting CFO on May 5, effective as from April 30, for the next three months.

In a letter, dated May 4, addressed to councillors, Mabilo pointed out that the council meeting had been “irregular, illegal and unprocedural”.

“All resolutions taken during this meeting are null and void. Most importantly the position of municipal manager and chief financial officer.” 

Mabilo indicated that Mabija was, therefore, still the acting municipal manager while Cader was still the acting CFO, after the MEC for the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs had extended their contracts for another three months. 

“Our focus, priority and attention should be on fighting the coronavirus. As such all public representatives are expected to be in full support of government’s efforts to respond to this pandemic. This time is most befitting for us to imbue within ourselves, a greater sense of political maturity and leadership,” said Mabilo.

The letter, however, did not go down well with those councillors who opposed Mabilo and supported the appointment of a new acting municipal manager and acting CFO. 

While Cader was not in his office on Wednesday, it was reported that he would be “forced out”, while council security were apparently told to refuse entry to the municipal offices to both him and Mabija in the future.