Municipality with sex-pest boss placed under administration

2013-04-20 09:24

Workers of the eMalahleni Municipality in Mpumalanga are hopeful that their boss, who has a sexual harassment judgment against him, will finally be investigated for alleged corruption after the Mpumalanga cabinet placed the municipality under administration this week.

Municipal manager George Mthimunye has been under constant pressure from his workers to leave – because of the sexual harassment judgment and as a result of corruption allegations.

Members of the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) assaulted and chased Mthimunye to the ANC Nkangala regional offices – “the individuals who deployed him” – on February 14 in reaction to the ANC’s and council’s disregard of corruption allegations against him.

They had also objected to Mthimunye’s employment to the R1.5 million job last November because the Northern Gauteng High Court had ruled that he had subjected administration clerk, Esther Mahlangu-Mathibela, to sexual harassment for three years while he was manager at the Dr JS Moroka municipality in Siyabuswa.

A Samwu official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “Our hopes are now with the administrator to investigate and charge Mthimunye.”

The official said workers did not regard Mthimunye as their municipal manager since they chased him out of office. He returned to work after two weeks.

Mthimunye was accused of flouting tender procedures and privatising the municipality’s fleet and waste management services without consulting workers.

The workers also alleged that he closed down the municipality’s filling station and signed a contract with a private garage. The contract forced municipal vehicles from faraway offices to be driven to eMalahleni just to be filled up.

Mthimunye declined to comment.

“Please speak to the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) because nothing has been communicated to me about the administration,” he said.

Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza said, in a statement, that the Emalahleni and Bushbuckridge municipalities were being placed under administration following “a long period of providing various (sic) provincial support through Cogta and coaching by the executive council”.

Residents in both municipalities have complained about erratic water and electricity supply.

Meanwhile, the Dr JS Moroka municipality has so far footed a R1.4 million bill towards Mahlangu-Mathibela’s legal and counselling costs incurred during the trial.

Mthimunye has paid nothing, even though the municipality said he would pay if he lost the case.

The court has recently ordered the municipality to pay Mahlangu-Mathibela another R3.2 million for past and future loss of earnings.

The amount to be paid for the sexual harassment has still not been determined, pending the consideration of actuarial reports.

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