Illegally appointed municipal chief nets R80 000 salary
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.