Municipal contracts spark protest

2013-06-12 00:00

THE non-renewal of three municipal managers’ contracts in Endumeni Municipality, Dundee, deserves Cogta MEC Nomusa Dube’s attention, says the DA.

On Friday, security was called in after the three managers refused to leave municipal offices, having been told that their contracts would not be renewed.

In April, municipal manager Thabani Biyela was suspended.

Endumeni had been facing a number of challenges, from the petrol bombing of the CFO’s office to the recent service delivery protest in Sibongile township, where foreign nationals had to be escorted by police after they were attacked by locals. Their shops were looted and a neighbour of the council speaker, Sduduzo Mdluli, was set alight, but survived.

The DA spokesperson on Cogta, Radley Keys, called on MEC Dube to urgently intervene in the Endumeni matter.

He said reports that mayor Thulani Mahaye had taken it upon himself to take control of the municipality — suspending the municipal manager and dismissing the three senior managers — were a serious concern. Keys said at the heart of the problem was the ongoing political infighting between factions of the ANC.

“This ongoing dissent is having a severe impact on the administration of the town, with service delivery coming to a standstill,” he said. Keys said the municipality must be placed under administration with immediate effect and disciplinary action taken against the mayor. “Anything less is unacceptable,” he said.

Endumeni spokesperson Percy-Grant Mabilisa said the municipal manager was suspended by the full council, and not by the mayor.

“As far as the dismissal of three other senior managers [goes], their contracts expired on May 18, and the executive committee meeting of Friday, June 7 took the decision not to renew their contracts,” he said. Mabilisa said the public protest was about the interference of the councillors in administration, service delivery and workplace issues.

“As far as we understand, there is no political infighting that caused instability in this municipality; such allegations are unfounded, and we are not in crisis,” he said.

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