City’s suspension drama

2015-03-31 00:00

THE Msunduzi Municipality has suspended 50 employees over the past six months, including its spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha.

High- and low-level municipal staff from different departments had been suspended, a senior South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) official confirmed yesterday.

“Some of them were suspended six months ago, some were suspended three months ago, but they are sitting at home getting paid to do nothing.”

The official said some of the staff were suspended over minor incidents, while others were suspected of serious offences.

“I don’t believe all incidents warranted suspensions; some of them should have been investigated first.

“Besides the suspensions, corruption is rife in Msunduzi,” said the Samwu official, who requested anonmity.

Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela responded to The Witness’s questions about the suspensions saying he did not “meddle in administrative matters”.

An Msunduzi councillor, who would not be named, said it was confirmed in a council meeting yesterday that Mafumbatha and 50 other municipal staff members had been suspended.

The circumstances surrounding Mafumbatha’s suspension are unclear, but it is believed she was suspended two weeks ago.

When contacted, Mafumbatha denied knowledge of the suspensions.

DA caucus leader Bill Lambert said the suspensions would be officially confirmed by the municipality at today’s council meeting.

DA Chief Whip Rodger Ashe said although suspending allegedly corrupt staff was a step in the right direction, it served no purpose to suspend people on full pay for indefinite periods.

“We then have people who might be guilty sitting at home drawing a salary, or people who are not guilty away from work for indefinite periods, which is a further waste of municipal resources.

“We therefore urge that this matter be concluded as speedily as possible,” said Ashe.

The municipality’s acting spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said the municipality could not confirm any of the suspensions.

“Matters of disciplinary hearings, suspensions and employee relations are strictly between an employee and employer.

“Out of respect for all the parties involved, we will let the normal processes take their course, and so we cannot divulge any information at this stage.”

It is unclear what the suspensions are costing the municipality, but the amount is believed to be in the order of hundreds of thousands of rands per month.

The news of the Msunduzi suspensions came a day after sister paper City Press broke the news of a chief director in government who had been suspended for almost four years, and was paid over R3 million to sit at home and do nothing.

The Department of Labour’s chief director of legal services, advocate Nkahloleng Phasha, earned a monthly salary of around R82 000 while at home for over 40 months, reported City Press.

While some Msunduzi Municipality staff have been on paid suspension for six months, it is unclear what their monthly salaries are and how long they will be out of office for.

ANC chief whip Truman Magubane said he was unaware of the suspensions.


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