Il­le­gally ap­pointed mu­nic­i­pal chief nets R80 000 salary

CityPress - - News - SETUMO STONE setumo.stone@city­press.co.za

An un­qual­i­fied mu­nic­i­pal man­ager in North West’s Ramot­shere Moiloa mu­nic­i­pal­ity (Zeerust) has been rak­ing in about R80 000 ev­ery month for more than half a year, while an MEC’s let­ter declar­ing his un­fit­ness to hold of­fice re­mained con­cealed from his own coun­cil.

Lo­cal op­po­si­tion A re Ageng Afrika, a splin­ter group of the ANC, last week gave North West lo­cal govern­ment and hu­man set­tle­ments MEC Fenny Gao­laolwe un­til Tues­day to “in­ter­vene and take ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion to rem­edy the il­le­gal ap­point­ment” of Thomp­son Phakalane.

“Should such ac­tion not be taken within 14 days, we will as­sume that you have aban­doned the statu­tory rights af­forded to your of­fice,” said lawyers Mool­man & Pien­aar in a let­ter dated Novem­ber 22.

The lawyers added that they would ap­proach courts for re­lief.

Phakalane has also been ac­cused of sus­pend­ing at least two other se­nior man­agers with­out fol­low­ing due process, open­ing up the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to law­suits.

Ac­cord­ing to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s reg­is­ter of ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture, al­most R1 mil­lion was paid out in lit­i­ga­tion ex­penses dur­ing July, cit­ing Phakalane as the “per­son li­able”.

He was ap­pointed act­ing mu­nic­i­pal man­ager in Ramot­shere Moiloa in De­cem­ber 2015 for a three-month term ex­pir­ing in March this year.

At the end of Phakalane’s term the ANC-led coun­cil took a res­o­lu­tion to reap­point him in an act­ing ca­pac­ity.

But the de­ci­sion needed the sup­port of MEC Gao­laolwe.

In April the mu­nic­i­pal­ity re­ceived feed­back from Gao­laolwe, stat­ing that Phakalane “did not meet the min­i­mum com­pe­tency re­quire­ments for a per­son to be ap­pointed in that post”.

“The in­cum­bent’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions do not match the com­pe­tency pro­file for a per­son to be ap­pointed as the mu­nic­i­pal man­ager,” Gao­laolwe said.

Al­ter­na­tively, she said, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity could ap­ply to the min­is­ter of co­op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance and tra­di­tional af­fairs for the re­quire­ments to be waived.

But the MEC’s let­ter, dated April 7, had not made it into the coun­cil cham­bers un­til Novem­ber 3.

This was when the op­po­si­tion ap­plied pres­sure and threat­ened to di­rectly ap­proach the MEC.

“There have been de­lay­ing tac­tics from the ANC since the new coun­cil was sworn in, in Au­gust.

“As soon as we threat­ened to write to the MEC, the let­ter sud­denly ap­peared,” said an op­po­si­tion coun­cil­lor, who spoke to City Press on con­di­tion of anonymity.

The ANC had 23 coun­cil­lors in Ramot­shere Moiloa, fol­lowed by the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers’ six. A re Ageng Afrika had three seats and the DA two. Agang, Free­dom Front Plus and Work­ing To­gether Po­lit­i­cal Party had one seat each.

Mean­while, a meet­ing sched­uled for Tues­day to dis­cuss Phakalane’s sta­tus has been post­poned. Moiloa’s spokesper­son, Dirontsho Se­bego, re­ferred queries to Phakalane, who did not re­spond. Gao­laolwe’s spokesper­son, Ben Bole, also did not re­spond.

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