Coun­cil­lors not happy with act­ing mu­nic­i­pal man­ager


WHILE for­mer Enoch Mgi­jima mu­nic­i­pal man­ager Nol­wan­dle Gqiba has moved on to a new job in Port El­iz­a­beth, coun­cil­lors this week were not sat­is­fied with her in­terim re­place­ment.

In ad­di­tion a le­gal let­ter, in pos­ses­sion of The Rep, which was tabled in the in-com­mit­tee ses­sion, raised con­cern that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had in­tended to end Gqiba’s con­tract three months be­fore it ex­pired.

In a spe­cial coun­cil meet­ing last Tues­day, sev­eral coun­cil­lors in­di­cated they did not want for­mer long-serv­ing Tsol­wana mu­nic­i­pal man­ager (MM) Smilo Dayi to act as the MM.

An hour af­ter the sched­uled start of the meet­ing, coun­cil­lors con­tin­ued to de­bate whether Dayi was the right per­son to read the no­tice con­ven­ing the meet­ing.

Some ANC coun­cil­lors, in­clud­ing mayor Lindiwe Gunuza Nk­wentsha, said the mayor had the power, with the may­oral com­mit­tee, to ap­point an act­ing MM and the de­ci­sion had to be rat­i­fied by coun­cil.

In an un­prece­dented move, speaker Mzox­olo Peter op­posed this, say­ing Gunuza Nk­wentsha did not have the power to ap­point an act­ing MM. Cor­po­rate ser­vices po­lit­i­cal head No­luthando Nqabisa said Gunuza Nk­wentsha had no in­ten­tion of un­der­min­ing coun­cil but there was an is­sue with the in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the clauses used to ap­point Dayi.

Dayi’s ap­point­ment fol­lowed the res­ig­na­tion with im­me­di­ate ef­fect of Gqiba in Jan­uary. She has since joined Nel­son Man­dela Metropoli­tan Mu­nic­i­pal­ity as the hu­man set­tle­ments and spa­tial plan­ning ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor.

Prior to the sit­ting on Tues­day, the in-com­mit­tee ses­sion was held, with the me­dia and mem­bers of the pub­lic asked to leave the venue.

In this ses­sion, a copy of the let­ter from Gqiba, writ­ten by le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives Wheel­don, Rush­mere & Cole Inc via at­tor­ney Brin Brody, was tabled. The let­ter ex­pressed sur­prise that Enoch Mgi­jima had in­di­cated to Gqiba in a let­ter on De­cem­ber 15 that her po­si­tion in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity was not safe and that the po­si­tion of MM had been ad­ver­tised.

The let­ter says Gqiba was sur­prised the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had seen fit to in­di­cate in its let­ter it “in­tends ap­point­ing a new mu­nic­i­pal man­ager by March 2017 when her pre­sent con­tract of em­ploy­ment in­di­cates that she is em­ployed un­til the end of June 2017”.

The lawyers then in­formed the mu­nic­i­pal­ity that Gqiba was re­sign­ing “with im­me­di­ate ef­fect aris­ing out of your let­ter and the man­ner in which she has been treated in re­gard to this ap­point­ment and the pur­pose of this let­ter is to con­firm her res­ig­na­tion with im­me­di­ate ef­fect”.

Re­spond­ing to e-mailed ques­tions, Enoch Mgi­jima com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Fundile Feket­shane said coun­cil wished “to put things into the proper per­spec­tive” when re­fer­ring to the for­mer MM.

“She was em­ployed by the for­mer Lukhanji Mu­nic­i­pal­ity as the mu­nic­i­pal man­ager and the con­tract was ef­fec­tive from 1 July 2015 un­til 30 June 2017. An amal­ga­ma­tion of the for­mer mu­nic­i­pal­ity took place and Enoch Mgi­jima was there­fore born. In terms of the sec­tion 12 no­tice a new mu­nic­i­pal­ity has to ap­point an in­terim mu­nic­i­pal man­ager and she was cho­sen from the 19th Au­gust 2016 un­til the 24th February 2017.”

This meant that her ear­lier con­tract, which had been trans­ferred to Enoch Mgi­jima, was still in force and ef­fec­tive un­til June 2017 “but un­for­tu­nately she re­signed with ef­fect from 13th Jan­uary 2017”.

“The coun­cil is now in a process of fill­ing the va­cancy of the mu­nic­i­pal man­ager as the head of ad­min­is­tra­tion and ac­count­ing of­fi­cer who shall steer the ad­min­is­tra­tion to meet the in­sti­tu­tional pro­grammes.

“We also want to wish our for­mer in­terim mu­nic­i­pal man­ager well in her en­deav­ours in her ca­reer.”

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