Ben­nett’s lawyer also con­firms ex-min­is­ter strayed

Sunday Observer - - NEWS -

Prom­i­nent Mba­bane busi­ness­man Wal­ter Ben­nett sought his own le­gal opin­ion on the mat­ter con­cern­ing the dis­puted con­tract of Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil of Mba­bane Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer (CEO) Gideon Mhlongo.

This le­gal opin­ion was is­sued to Buzzby Ser­vices (Ben­nett’s com­pany) on July 15, 2018. An­other one was is­sued on Au­gust 22, 2018.


This opin­ion was given by lawyer Muzi Sime­lane, who was also of the view that for­mer Min­is­ter for Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Phi­wayinkhosi Mabuza abused his power.

The lawyer said the for­mer min­is­ter had no power to is­sue or­ders for ap­point­ment of coun­cil em­ploy­ees. He could not in­voke Sec­tion 47.

Sime­lane said the for­mer min­is­ter re­lied on Sec­tion 47 of t he Ur­ban Gov­ern­ment Act of 1969.

Sec­tion 47 of the Act is di­vided into four sub­sec­tions.

They read thus:

(1) Sub­ject to the pro­vi­sions of this Part, Sec­tion 42, where ap­pli­ca­ble, and any reg­u­la­tions and stand­ing or­ders made un­der the pro­vi­sions of sec­tion 51, a coun­cil may em­ploy such per­sons and en­gage such agents as it con­sid­ers nec­es­sary for the ef­fi­cient dis­charge of its du­ties and func­tions upon such terms and con­di­tions as it may de­ter­mine.

(2) A coun­cil may, with the ap­proval of the min­is­ter and with the con­sent of the per­son con­cerned, ap­point to any po­si­tion in its ser­vice a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cer sec­onded to the coun­cil’s ser- vice for that pur­pose, for such pe­riod and on such con­di­tions as the min­is­ter may ap­prove.

(3) No per­son may be em­ployed by a coun­cil who is a mem­ber of the coun­cil or who has been a mem­ber at any time dur­ing the six months prior to his ap­point­ment to the ser­vice of the coun­cil.


(4) Where a coun­cil re­fuses, fails or ne­glects to com­ply with any pro­vi­sions re­quir­ing it to ap­point cer­tain staff, the min­is­ter may, after hav­ing given the coun­cil not less than 14 days’ prior no­tice of his in­ten­tion to do so, ex­er­cise on be­half of the coun­cil and on such terms and con­di­tions as he deems ex­pe­di­ent, the pow­ers of ap­point­ment con­ferred upon the coun­cil by this Act.

Sime­lane, in this in­stance, said Sec­tion 47 (4) could not be ap­plied be­cause coun­cil had taken a res­o­lu­tion not to re­new the con­tract.

“It is not that coun­cil has re­fused, failed or ne­glected. Min­is­ter (for­mer Min­is­ter Mabuza) has no power to di­rect coun­cil on what it has to do in han­dling the con­tract is­sues of any staff,” Sime­lane said.

He fur­ther stated that the fact that the de­ci­sion taken by coun­cil was not to the for­mer min­is­ter’s lik­ing did not mean the for­mer min­is­ter had to im­pose an ul­ti­ma­tum.

There­fore, ac­cord­ing to Sime­lane, the for­mer min­is­ter acted out­side the pro­vi­sions of the Ur­ban Gov­ern­ment Act of 1969. The for­mer min­is­ter failed to in­di­cate the pro­vi­sion that coun­cil failed, re­fused or ne­glected to com­ply with.

Prom­i­nent Mba­bane busi­ness­man Wal­ter Ben­nett.

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