Absent officials: Exco complains

2009-08-25 00:00

“WITH all the acting going on in council, I feel like I’m in Hollywood.”

This was the tongue-in-cheek response of Msunduzi Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo at an executive committee (Exco) meeting last Thursday in response to the absence of four senior officials, which has resulted in other municipal officials standing in for them.

The response, which brought laughter from those in attendance, was uttered when then acting municipal manager Roy Bridgmohan read out apologies from officials who were unable to be at the meeting.

Municipal manager Rob Haswell is on sick leave, deputy muni­cipal manager for community services Zwe Hulane and deputy municipal manager for corporate services Kevin Perumal are in London on a management development course, and deputy municipal manager for infrastructure services Phil Mashoko is away on family responsibility leave, said Bridgmohan.

Mashoko has since returned and taken over from Bridgmohan as acting municipal manager.

Hlatshwayo told the meeting, “Study leave should be approved by Exco, because we need to see who’s available as it affects the running of council.”

Haswell’s continual absences from Exco meetings have not been greeted favourably by councillors. As last week’s meeting, acting municipal manager Bridgmohan was pressured to respond to issues which Haswell is answerable for.

When DA councillor Rod­ger Ashe said it is probably difficult for Bridgmohan to respond off-the-cuff, Hlatshwayo said, since he is acting for Haswell, he had full authority to go to his office and find out about urgent issues which required responses.

“Maybe you should make me acting municipal manager,” joked Hlatshwayo.

Councillors have often complained about reports not being tabled due to Haswell’s absences.

The Witness previously reported that, according to a confidential letter submitted by Exco to the Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC on March 23, Haswell failed to submit the annual reports for 2006/07 and 2007/08, which reflects badly on council.

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