EFF takes legal route to challenge MM appointment
THE Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) caucus in Komani has taken legal action against the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality (EMLM) for the alleged unlawful appointment of new municipal manager (MM) Ntsokolo Magwangqana.
The party has claimed that the appointment was unlawful as the rules of the Municipal Systems Act governing local government were not adhered to when the advert for the position of the MM was made public.
The EFF has also claimed that the vetting process of candidates had not been done and that the MM had not made mention of the Amathole District Municipality sanitation scandal investigation currently under way during the interview.
EFF chief whip Luthando Amos said the party was challenging the MM’s appointment because the item to appoint an MM was not on the agenda in the last council meeting of the year in December, after motions to this effect were submitted.
“We have decided to take legal action against EMLM because not all due processes were followed when the appointment was made. The advert is for a five year contract which means the new MM will still be in office when the next council is appointed. We also know that a vetting company was employed by the municipality to check if there were any criminal elements among the candidates, but that was not done according to the panelists’ report.
“We reached out to our lawyers this week to file papers in the high court for the MM to be suspended from his duties pending the finalisation of the legal process that we have started. We expect the MM to step down next week so that a whole new recruitment process can be conducted.”
Amos said the party did not have a personal vendetta against the MM and that he saw The Rep report (“Plans to fix EMLM ills”, January 26) where the MM’s expertise was mentioned and that the party did not doubt his ability to turn around the municipality.
“We wrote to the MM last week requesting the minutes of when his appointment was made and gave him until Friday to respond, but we had not received any communication from him. This is not a personal attack on the MM but a disciplinary measure on the municipality which continues to undermine the opposition and impose decisions based on the fact that they are the majority.”
Last month, DA councillor Malibongwe Xhelisilo wrote to EMLM mayor Lindiwe Gunuza Nkwentsha, speaker Mzoxolo Peter and acting MM Mzoxolo Dingani inquiring about the potential MM’s fixed-term contract of employment as advertised.
The letter, which is in possession of The Rep, stated that the council advertised for a contract of five years, which would mean council contravened section 57 (6) (a) which indicated that the employment contract for the MM must be for a fixed-term of up to a maximum of five years, not exceeding a period ending one year after election of the next council of the municipality.
Xhelisilo said he wanted the recruitment process to be considered null and void as the advert was inconsistent with the Municipal Systems Act and that all processes in relation to the recruitment of the MM should be withdrawn as the advert was misleading and not in line with legislation.
The objection was not discussed in the last council meeting in December and was said to have been moved to January for discussion, but this had not materialised.