Lack of agendas halt meeting
... while contracts take centre stage in EMLM council discussions
AN ENOCH Mgijima Local Municipality meeting turned to chaos soon after it started on Friday as councillors raised queries about the lack of agendas.
The bickering started when EFF councillor Luthando Amos asked whether the meeting was an ordinary or a special meeting since councillors had not received agendas.
Speaker Mzoxolo Peter said, “I signed off the agendas the previous Friday, therefore I do not understand how the agendas could not have reached councillors in time.”
He said the meeting was a special council meeting.
Acting municipal manager (MM) Mzoxolo Dingani claimed to have received an instruction from someone, whose name he did not reveal, whom he said had told him not to hand out the agendas.
Peter said such an instruction would be out of order and that he would follow up on the matter.
DA councillor Chris de Wet said there could be no official meeting as councillors had not received the agendas in time and therefore could not prepare. Council agreed to a 10-minute recess for members to familiarise themselves with the agendas. The media was told not to return to the special closed meeting.
A copy of the agenda was however leaked with one of the issues the contracts of senior managers which had expired.The Rep has copies of letters written by mayor Lindiwe Gunuza-Nkwentsha informing former Tsolwana Local Municipality officials Similo Dayi, Mountain Siqaza and Zandisile Nxano about the termination of their contracts.
In a letter dated September 26, Gunuza-Nkwentsha wrote to the acting MM, instructing him to investigate how Dayi had been reporting for duty and had received a salary in September despite being informed about the end of his fixed-term contract on August 31. The mayor wrote to the acting MM again on October 4, stating that her office still had not received a report with regard to how Dayi had received a salary after his contract had been terminated.
The letter reads, “Kindly advise as a matter of urgency what steps you have taken to remedy the situation and in particular the irregular payment of a salary for a senior manager whose contract expired without any alternative arrangements being agreed upon.”
In a legal opinion document from Dayi’s lawyers, Ntsiki Pakade Attorneys, it was stated that Dayi had been working after his contract had ended, subjectively created an expectation that the contract would be renewed and that the municipality’s silence on the renewal of the initial fixed-term contract left a lot to be desired.
In another letter to the MM dated October 4, the mayor queried why Siqaza and Nxano had been reporting for duty after council had resolved on June 7 that their contracts be terminated. Their last working day had been on September 30.
Gunuza-Nkwenstha wrote, “I am afraid that the two managers may take decisions, make agreements or involve themselves in supply chain management processes which could stand to be challenged in future. The municipality will not be liable for any claims of compensation to the two managers for any period during which they reported for duty during October. Any person who acts contrary to what council resolved, will be personally held liable for all and any costs that may arise from such.”
Dayi declined to comment as he was seeking legal advice.
An e-mail was sent to EMLM spokesman Fundile Feketshane for comment on the contracts of the officials, including Siqaza and Nxano, but no comment had been received at the time of going to press.
During Friday’s council meeting it was resolved that the contracts of senior managers should be renewed for a further three months.