Call to place Kokstad Municipality under administration

2014-07-04 00:00

THE furore over unpaid performance bonuses at Greater Kokstad Municipality still persists and calls have emerged for the troubled ­municipality to be placed under partial administration.

The calls come from non-governmental ­organisations like businesses, the Ratepayers’ Association and Kokstad Concerned Residents, who want decisive intervention fearing the municipality could collapse.

The municipality has been hit by a spate of financial crises since April last year.

A Special Council meeting on Friday resolved to pay R1,2 million in performance ­bonuses to the managers who have been picketing outside the municipal buildings each day, but the managers have continued their lunch-time protest with further demands. These include the permanent employment of level 2 to 4 managers, who believe they are being abused by some councillors and intimidated with their contracts, demands around placement of staff, leave policy, protective clothing, political interference in administration matters and poor financial administration.

The management has vowed that the struggle will continue until all their demands are met. They said they cannot be silenced with bonuses while general workers do not have protective clothing.

The managers are also calling on MEC for Co-orporative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, to place the municipality under administration.

The picketing staff have been joined by two unions, the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union and the South African Municipal Workers Union. Greater Kokstad Municipality Mayor Nosisa Jojozi said, “We are going to pay performance bonuses to 25 qualified managers out of 29 managers and we have budgeted [for this],” said Jojozi.

But some councillors and staff who spoke to The Witness after the council meeting, asked where the money would come from ­because the municipality still faced severe ­financial crises.

The same managers on Tuesday walked out of a monthly management committee meeting giving municipal manager Zamo Mkhize two hours to resolve some of their demands.

“Yes, the municipality has financial challenges and we are obligated as per our policy to pay performance bonuses,” said the mayor.

Jojozi said the state of finances was not as bad as they were in April 2013 and promised to look at other grievances raised by the management and unions.

The managers’ representative Mpho Mhlanti confirmed that Tuesday’s meeting had failed to resolve some of their grievances.

“The dire financial constraints do not seem to be recovering and it seems prudent that the MEC intervenes to save the community from the lack of effective and efficient service delivery …” said Mhlanti.

He said the situation was unprecedented in the history of Kokstad and the managers had decided to stand up and ensure viable and sustainable ideas are conceived to resuscitate the municipality and bring hope again to the ­community.

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