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Suspended NC municipal manager resumes duties

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The suspended municipal manager of Renosterberg Local Municipality, Morne Hoogbaard, resumed his duties last week.

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THE SUSPENDED municipal manager of Renosterberg Local Municipality, Morne Hoogbaard, resumed his duties last week.

By-elections were held in November in all wards at Renosterberg Municipality as the council had been dissolved and placed under administration.

At Renosterberg Municipality the ANC won the majority of the votes and holds four seats in council, while the DA has two seats and the EFF one seat.

In correspondence addressed to the administrator, Hoogbaard recommended that council should remain open over the Christmas and New Year’s weekends.

“The current crises (at the municipality) demand continuous attention (over the traditional festive season holidays).”

He gave the administrator until December 12 to outline a solution to pay creditors and meet payroll obligations before Christmas (December 25).

Hoogbaard advised that contributions to the pension fund were allegedly illegally retained by his predecessors.

“I have engaged the fund managers through BDP Attorneys, a firm that was terminated by the administrator before a solution could be reached.

“Several of his predecessors on several occasions, for extended periods, have failed to pay contributions to the fund. I approached the matter with a sustainable solution in mind, until you (the administrator) interrupted and derailed my efforts by terminating my legal advisers.”

He instructed the administrator to produce a report on how to “remedy this outrageous failure by my predecessors” by the close of business on Tuesday, December 15.

Hoogbaard has declared a labour dispute over his “flawed” suspension.

In an urgent letter addressed to the administrator from Eyodwa Workplace Conflict System Design, on December 10, it was stated that Hoogbaard was denied a “fair and prompt hearing”.

It was also stated that the disciplinary process had not been instituted in the required three months and that no formal charges had been laid against him.

“No date has been set for a hearing, no explanation or any request for any postponement or delay have been forthcoming and no apparent next step in the prosecution of such charges have been attended to by the employer. Mr Hoogbaard therefore regards his employment position as being strictly in terms of his appointment, with no legally valid interruptions of such duties.

“He will continue to execute his duties as he was appointed to do. He will also urgently file a suitable application with the relevant bargaining council for relief arising out of this abuse of the process perpetuated against him ”

Media enquiries sent to the administrator were not answered.