Electricity boss is ‘victim of infigting’

2015-05-13 06:00

ALLEGATIONS that Nelson Mandela Bay’s electricity and energy director is not fulfilling his duties by not working from his office have been blown out of proportion by the media and the DA, a reliable source in the municipality says.

PE Express reported last week on electricity and energy director, Silby Matthew, not having worked from his own office for two months.

After the report was published, a source told PE Express that Matthew was still performing his duties but had become the victim of infighting in his department and had to be moved to a different office for his safety.

The source said Matthew was in fact working from the City Hall and not in his assigned office due to clashes with senior officials and workers.

This comes after the provincial DA leader, Athol Trollip, accused Matthew of “bunking his duties” during the time of the electricity crisis and demanded an immediate investigation by the city manager.

Trollip said on Monday, April 27, that he had written to the municipal manager, Mpilo Mbambisa, to launch an urgent investigation into Matthew’s absenteeism.

Municipal spokesperson, Mthubanzi Mniki, said, however, that Matthew was on duty even though he was not working from his office.

The source in the municipality said Matthew had done an excellent job implementing municipal programmes in his five months as director.

He had, however, been subjected to false accusations because several senior managers were eager to get the top job.

“There are major problems in his (Matthew’s) department. The problems of infighting among workers happened long before Matthew was in office and he has unfortunately been left to deal with the anger of unsatisfied workers.

“Matthew is also dealing with issues of back-pay and the municipality’s re-grading - a problem he inherited,” said the insider. The source said Mbambisa had decided to move Matthews to protect him from workers as the situation in the electricity and energy department was intensifying.

“We can’t blame him for unresolved issues dating back to five years ago. He (Mbambisa) wanted to avoid a situation. Some people can take a hostile working environment and some cannot. Mbambisa wanted to avoid placing Matthew in a situation where he would be locked in his office for fear of being attacked when a strike ensued,” he said.

Trollip said he could not sympathise with Matthew’s situation as it was a pure example of the ANC’s inability to deal with problems.

“He cannot be placed in another office because workers are hostile. The municipality needs to deal with the challenges rather than running away.

“Matthew cannot be moved to another office. If the workers are hostile, they need to be managed and if he is a problem, Matthew also needs to be managed. They cannot tiptoe around each other. The people suffer as result and services aren’t delivered,” said Trollip.

Municipal spokesperson, Roland Williams, said, “As an opposition political party pushing for votes, the DA will of course make such statements.

“The city manager and his management team are focused on delivering services to the community of Nelson Mandela Bay in accordance with the IDP, and not on political statements,” said Williams

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