Tokologo in hot water after dismissal

2015-04-30 16:14
GATHERING DUST: The attached black Mercedes-Benz C180 is gathering dust at the Boshof Magistrate’s Court where it is kept after being repossessed.

Mlungisi Louw

GATHERING DUST: The attached black Mercedes-Benz C180 is gathering dust at the Boshof Magistrate’s Court where it is kept after being repossessed. Photo: Mlungisi Louw

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THE Tokologo Local Municipality in the western region of the Free State is embroiled in a legal battle regarding the unfair dismissal of an employee.

The legal battle has seen the Boshof Sheriff attach the mayor’s official vehicle, a C18 Mercedes-Benz on Monday 30 March for contempt of order.

Express reliably learnt that the attached vehicle was a surplus and was not being utilised by Boitumelo Seakge, Tokologo’s mayor.

Informed sources told this publication that the sheriff was likely to attach more assets of the municipality to recover money owed to the fired employee Palo Modibedi, who held a senior position in the mayor’s office.

Led by Seakge as the mayor, the Tokologo Municipality governs three towns, Boshof, Dealesville and Hertzogville.

Informed sources also stated Seakge declined answering questions relating to the debacle at the municipal council meeting held last Wednesday (01/04).

The attached vehicle is the property of the municipality in question. It was attached following the municipality’s failure to honour an award to pay the aggrieved employee, Modibedi, the estimated R130 000 owed to him.

In 2013, Modibedi lodged a dispute with the Free State’s South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC) against unfair dismissal by the municipality. The SALGBC found Modibedi had been unfairly dismissed by the municipality in 2013, and ruled in his favour, subsequently ordering the municipality to reinstate Modibedi.

Modibedi says the council ordered the municipality to reinstate him and reimburse him an estimated R130 000.

Modibedi claims that Kelehile Motlhale, the municipal manager, dismissed him again on 3 February 2014 when he reported for duty, despite the ruling of the council.

After the municipality failed to abide by the ruling of the bargaining council, Modibedi took up the matter with the Labour Court, which issued a writ of execution to attach movable goods of the municipality in order to reimburse Modibedi.

Eye witnesses told this publication that the municipal officials, including the chief financial officer and Motlhale, abandoned their officers upon the arrival of the sheriff to impound the vehicle last Monday.

“The senior officials locked their offices and left to prevent the sheriff from attaching other movable municipal furniture,” says a source.

The attached black Mercedes-Benz is gathering dust at the Boshof Magistrate’s Court.

Last year the mayor made headlines when the municipality bought him a brand-new Jeep vehicle estimated to be worth more than R510 000. Municipal council members of the opposition parties argued that the vehicle had been way over budget.

Meanwhile, the municipality has been criticised for forcing municipal workers to drive vehicles which are not road worthy and failure to implement its sewer system in Dealesville. The mayor and the municipal manager failed to respond to phone calls made by this publication

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