Absence of municipal manager causes uproar
MEC yet to approve Lukhanji appointment
LUKHANJI Municipality’s State of the Municipality Address (Soma) got off to a rocky start last Thursday as opposition parties demanded to know why a municipal manager (MM) had not started work at the beginning of May as resolved in a previous council meeting.
The Rep reported (“Acting MM seconded to Qtn,” March 6) that cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Fikile Xasa had seconded senior manager for infrastructure support Mvuyisi Nofemela to Lukhanji.
Speaking during the Soma in Ilinge, executive mayor Nozi Makanda said Nofemela’s acting contract had ended the previous day and the municipality was thus without a MM. She requested council to allow chief financial officer Nomthandazo Ntshanga to act for the day, saying corporate services director Siyabonga Nkonki, who had been involved in a car accident earlier in the year while acting as the MM, had gone to see a doctor.
“We want to request council to allow Mr Nkonki to act as municipal manager for a period of three months or until a permanent MM has been appointed – whichever comes first,” Makanda said.
Mthuthuzeli Hokolo of UDM asked why the MM appointed by council had not started on May 2 as previously resolved.
The PAC’s Mfundo Siyo said the acting MM should not start until an explanation was given about what happened to the resolution to have a MM by May.
Locals attending the meeting started howling, with Hokolo appealing to council speaker Margaret Snyders to use her powers to protect councillors and stop the howling.
Special programmes unit head Neli Pambo said council could not proceed with its business until there was someone in the vacant seat.
Ntshanga took the seat and the council meeting proceeded. Makanda said the appointed MM, whose identity has not been revealed but whose name is known to The Rep, had not started as she was still awaiting concurrence from Xasa.
Veteran councillor Siyabulela Gaju supported Nkonki taking over as the acting MM, adding that Makanda should request that Xasa second Nofemela to the technical services directorate as it had some challenges.
According to a CV given to media houses by Lukhanji, Nofemela’s qualifications include a national diploma in civil engineering from Walter Sisulu Univer- sity and a BTech degree in civil engineering from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
Council then resolved for Nkonki to act as MM upon his return and for Nofemela to be seconded to the technical services directorate.
EMPTY HOT SEAT: Lukhanji Municipality has been without a permanent municipal manager (MM) since former MM Gregory Brown received a golden handshake after his suspension in December 2013. Pictured, from left, executive mayor Nozi Makanda and council speaker Margaret Snyders