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Sol defends salary payment

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The executive director of Corporate Services, Ruth Sebolecwe, was paid her salary in August while she has been on extended sick leave since February, contrary to a council decision taken to freeze her salary payments.

Ruth Sebolecwe

THE SOL Plaatje Municipality has defended a payment made to the executive director of Corporate Services, Ruth Sebolecwe, for the August salary run, while she has been on extended sick leave since February, contrary to a council decision taken to freeze her salary payments.

Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie explained that Sebolecwe was still entitled to payment, in lieu of days, prior to the decision that was taken during the council meeting that took place on August 20. “As from the date of the council resolution, it will be leave without pay.”

DA caucus leader Christopher Phiri believes that the acting municipal manager, Nomonde Tyabashe-Kesiamang, in her capacity as the accounting officer, should be held accountable for the “fruitless and wasteful expenditure”.

“No objections were made when council took the decision to stop Sebolecwe’s salary. No council resolution was taken to extend her sick leave. It was made clear during the council meeting that was held on August 20, in Tyabashe-Kesiamang’s presence, that Sebolecwe’s salary should be stopped with immediate effect. To date she has failed to inform payroll, which had up until August 28, to halt her salary,” said Phiri yesterday.

He stated that Sebolecwe should return the money and that Tyabashe-Kesiamang should be charged for gross dereliction of duty.

“The DA also wants an investigation into Sebeolcwe’s prolonged absence from office.There are also questions surrounding the validity of the sick certificate that she has been submitting from her doctor. It is not normal practice to grant sick leave for such a long time without seeing a specialist or undergoing major surgery.”

Meanwhile, the Sol Plaatje executive mayor, Patrick Mabilo, is apparently facing a mutiny within his own ranks, after receiving threats of assault and removal from office following his announcement that Sol Plaatje municipal staff would not be represented at the municipal games in Durban.

Councillors who are in support of the games believe that the decision was made without consultation.

“While we understand the need for cost containment, it is creating animosity because Sol Plaatje Municipality is supposed to defend its title at the games. An individual can’t suddenly decide to cancel the event. For the first time since 1997 we will not be attending, even though the budget for the event was approved. The majority of municipalities throughout the country will be participating. They were even going to reduce the number of participants from 140 to 120 – which is already a cost-saving measure,” the councillors said.

They added that mayoral committee members were trying to convince the mayor to allow workers to attend the event to boost their morale.