Mettler’s future as city administrator in the balance

2010-12-16 00:00

JOHANN Mettler’s position as administrator of the Msunduzi Municipality is hanging in the balance.

This emerged at yesterday’s full council sitting where a series of letters indicated that while the intervention in the running of the municipality will be extended until June 30 next year, the question of who will be the administrator until then is not clear.

Mettler’s contract lapses at the end of this month, but the contract of a senior member of his team, Ben Dorfling, has been extended until June and he will continue to be part of the intervention.

A letter from the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) to Mettler, dated December 8, states: “… the position of the administrator post December 31, 2010, to June 30, 2011, is currently being considered and the municipality will be advised in due course.”

A letter from Mettler three days later states that “… an administrator will be appointed for the term January 1, 2011, up to June 30, 2011 …”

Dorfling apologised for Mettler’s absence, saying he had struggled to get a flight back from Cape Town in time for the meeting.

IFP caucus leader Dolo Zondi said his party is worried that Mettler may not return. “He has been doing a wonderful job. Now that he’s about to reach the truth he may be removed. It’s clear that the ruling party is hiding something,” he said.

Zondi was adamant that the original team should be retained until the intervention is complete.


Council speaker Babu Baijoo said Mettler may return, depending on negotiations between the South African Local Government Association (Salga) and Cogta.

Support for Mettler by Salga and the municipality “has made strong motivation” that his stay be extended until the intervention is complete, Baijoo said.

Last month the intervention team, which was made up of six people, was reduced to Mettler and Dorfling, and Cogta recommended that local experts be brought in to replace the departed team members.

At the time, concerns were raised whether there were any local people experienced enough to continue where the departed members had left off.

In terms of local expertise, Mettler said in his letter: “The dismissal of the intervention team … is going to have some negative effect in the short term … [but once local experts are appointed] the situation will return to the good.”

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