Golden handshake costs arm and leg

2011-10-01 17:06

Mbombela city mayor Cathy Dlamini wants to pay a golden handshake to a former manager who was fired on charges of financial misconduct related to Nelspruit’s R1.2 billion World Cup stadium.

City Press has established from three independent sources in the council that Dlamini has appointed Nelspruit magistrate Nomaswazi Shabangu as the council’s consultant to negotiate the package with Jacob Dladla’s legal team.

Shabangu and Dladla confirmed that negotiations were ongoing, but Dlamini’s spokesperson, Joseph Ngala, said it was “premature” to comment since council was yet to take a resolution on the matter.

Dlamini’s predecessor, Lassy Chiwayo, told City Press that Premier David Mabuza had instructed him to reinstate Dladla in 2008 and that he declined.

According to City Press’ sources, Dlamini is trying to negotiate a pay-out but she is being cautious because ANC councillors loyal to Chiwayo will object.

A settlement with Dladla would seem to appease Mabuza, who previously expressed support for Dladla’s reinstatement.

Mabuza’s spokesperson, Ronald Lamola, said he was not aware of the premier’s role in this matter and referred questions to chief of staff in Mabuza’s office, Jasmine Ali.

Ali’s two phones rang unanswered and she did not return text messages.The negotiations, a source said, were at “an advanced stage”.

“The mayor initiated the process and wants to table the matter before council. This matter is being handled secretly because it’s likely to be vehemently opposed by most councillors, considering how sensitive the stadium issue still is,” he said.

It is unclear how much Dladla wants. He earned R820 000 per year before he was fired in March 2009.

His five-year employment contract was due to expire last Friday and he could have pocketed an additional R2.1 million over the remaining months.

Shabangu said: “I’m still working on it. I’m applying my mind and law. I wasn’t given time frames, but instruction to work on it.” Dladla is also challenging his dismissal in the Johannesburg Labour Court, but the council’s attorney, Johan du Preez said he was not aware of the pay-out negotiations.

The trial is due to start in November this year and Mbombela has already paid more than R4 million in legal fees.

Dladla’s disciplinary hearing cost the council R2.4 million.

Dladla said there was agreement not to discuss the matter.Jacob Dladla» Instructing an official to delete files on the municipal server.

» Instructing the 2010 stadium bid evaluation and adjudication committees to change their recommendations in respect of the bidder that was to be appointed.

» Refusing to hand over documents and laptops to council speaker Jimmy Mohlala, who has since been assassinated, after Dladla was suspended on February 12 2008.

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