EFF takes le­gal route to chal­lenge MM ap­point­ment

The Rep - - NEWS - ANDISA BO­NANI

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.

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