Junior manager ditched for insubordination

2007-12-19 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality’s acting manager in the office of the mayor, Skhumbuzo Mpanza, has been suspended indefinitely for actions tantamount to insubordination and stripped of the role of acting municipal manager. The suspension is with immediate effect pending an investigation. This decision was reached unanimously during a special full council meeting yesterday.

Mpanza instructed council support staff not to attend the meeting as he had not been consulted about it. According to council rules, the speaker has the mandate to inform councillors of the full council meeting without consultation.

“This will serve as a warning to all council members that insubordination will not be tolerated in this municipality,” Speaker Alpha Shelembe said.

Another issue of contention was the validity of Mpanza’s appointment as acting municipal manager, while Rob Haswell is on leave for two weeks.

Mpanza’s appointment was questioned as an ANC caucus had resolved that strategic executive manager (SEM) for community services and social equity, Zwe Hulane, be appointed, but Mpanza introduced himself at last week’s full council meeting as the acting municipal manager.

This made it difficult for Shelembe to announce Hulane for the position at the meeting as there were members of the public present.

Councillors felt Mpanza is too junior to act in Haswell’s absence.

They also said he should not be allowed to act in two positions at once. “At one instance, Mpanza has held three acting positions simultaneously,” said council chief whip Sehla Ngubane.

He was referring to a time when Mpanza was acting human resource and governance SEM, acting municipal manager and acting manager in the Mayor’s Office.

The meeting heard that in future the municipal manager should appoint someone to act in his place, in consultation with the mayor, deputy mayor, chief whip and council speaker, if the position is to be held for more than seven days.

When contacted by The Witness, Mpanza refused to comment, saying that he would await a “formal communiqué from the relevant authority”.

thabi@witness.co.za

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