According to the DA the suspension in relation to the salaries of the two as well as the cost of paying the acting officials was in the region of R8 million.
THE DA believes that the three year precautionary suspension of Sol Plaatje municipal manager, Goolam Akharwaray and chief financial officer Lydia Mahloko, was irregular and had caused irreparable harm to the institution.
DA caucus leader at Sol Plaatje municipality Christopher Phiri estimated that the cost of the suspensions in relation to the salary payments of Akharwaray and Mahloko as well as the cost of paying the acting officials was in the region of R8 million.
“This is nothing less than fruitless and wasteful expenditure. The costs are substantially more, considering the drastic decline in the state of the municipality over the three-year period.”
He pointed out that the Section 106 report and the suspension of the two officials were not related.
“The management duo were suspended following the Kimberley shutdown that was brought on by the controversial R260 electricity tariff in 2018. Matters seemingly got muddled with the controversial 106 report that continues to remain unresolved. We have yet to be informed of any finality on the matters.”
He added that the interdict that was obtained by Mahloko and Akharwaray in respect of the Section 106 report, should not have had an impact on the disciplinary process in respect of the R260 tariff.
“The Municipal Systems Act clearly states that if a senior manager is suspended, a disciplinary hearing must commence within three months after the date of suspension, failing which the suspension will automatically lapse. The period of three months may further not be extended in council.
“Clearly this has not been the case at Sol Plaatje Municipality, where three months turned into a costly three year. It resulted in severe instability that has seen the municipality go from bad to worse, to near collapse in a very short space of time.”
He added that council had to lay out the exact costs and damages incurred over the past three years.
“The DA initiated engagements with the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and the South Africa Local Government Association (Salga), to interrogate the validity of the prolonged suspensions. Now that the suspensions have officially been lifted, we cannot however just leave the matter there.
“The DA has therefore requested the Speaker to initiate a session for council to conduct a post-mortem of the matter. In this regard, we specifically require the finer details in respect of the exact costs and the damages incurred over the past three years. We also need to be briefed on the actual court settlement, so that we can get to grips with how it was possible that the suspensions were so unduly delayed.
“Someone needs to be held accountable and measures need to be put in place to ensure that there is full compliance in disciplinary processes moving forward.”