uMngeni in uproar over manager’s resignation

2014-04-04 00:00

POPULAR uMngeni municipal manager (MM) Dr Mpilo Ngubane left his post last week after handing in his resignation a month ago.

Residents and ratepayer organisations were shocked as they expected the council to be more pro-active in getting Ngubane to stay.

This was in light of the fact that he was said to have resigned because his contract had not been confirmed but that his probation was extended for a period of 18 months. It has since turned out that Ngubane did not have to serve a probationary period because the regulations calling for senior officials employed in terms of Section 57 of the Municipal Systems Act had not been promulgated when he had been employed.

Councillors tried to rectify this at a meeting last Friday.

The ANC put forward a resolution to rescind the decision taken at a meeting in October last year to extend the MM’s probation. They said that they had been misled by the administration into believing that the draft regulations had been promulgated. They moved and seconded a resolution to confirm the MM’s contract and that he must get back to his office. However Ngubane had already served his notice and had left.

According to sources at the municipality, the MM’s departure is believed to be a result of a breakdown in his relationship with Mayor Mbali Myeni. Sources say there are some angry ANC councillors as their caucus had asked the mayor to approach Ngubane to withdraw his resignation. This was not done and they allegedly accused Myeni of dragging her feet on the issue, saying she wanted him gone.

Ngubane is now working at the eThekwini Municipality.

The KZN Department of Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) was asked why more had not been done to retain the services of the MM who had turned the municipality around and set it on a path to financial recovery.

Cogta spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said from what they knew, Ngubane had resigned and accepted an offer in another municipality where he is currently working. Resignations by their nature are unilateral acts of individuals influenced by different circumstances, including greener pastures.

DA caucus leader Pam Pasmoor, who had been a firm supporter of Ngubane and the work he has done at the municipality, as well as others, said that Ngubane was prepared to stay and serve his five-year contract.

They say he left because of the issue of probation and are convinced he would have stayed if the resolution on extending his probation had been rescinded.

Asked to comment, the mayor said the simple fact was that Ngubane had resigned. She said he was not bound by any confidentiality pertaining to his departure from uMngeni Municipality and only he could substantiate on his reasons.

Myeni confirmed that the resolution extending his probation had been rescinded, but since he had already left, he would be within his right to apply when the position is advertised.

The mayor added that she was not aware of a breakdown in the relationship between her office and that of the MM.

“Until his departure, my office and that of the municipal manager, which he occupied, worked as expected in discharging the duties in the interests of all people of uMngeni,” Myeni said.

She dismissed “with contempt the baseless” allegations from sources within the municipality.

“My office and the administration I lead will not be distracted from carrying out the mandate entrusted upon us by our people to improve their lives in a meaningful way. All of us in this municipality, elected or employed, are dispensable. The municipality will continue to function without us as there are sound government policies in place to ensure that work continues unaffected,” the mayor said.

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