Are his decisions lawful?

2017-09-04 11:30
Msunduzi acting municipal manager Sizwe Hadebe.

Msunduzi acting municipal manager Sizwe Hadebe. (File)

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Are decisions being taken by the city’s acting municipal manager legal and valid?

Questions have been raised whether acting municipal manager Sizwe Hadebe’s position has been in breach of municipal laws since his second three-month term ended at the beginning of December last year.

This has also raised doubt about whether decisions he has taken or documents that he has signed since then are legally valid.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said that after his six-month term ended, Hadebe was seconded to the municipality.

She said his secondment was approved by the MEC for local government, Nomusa Dube-Ncube on December 15, 2016 but she did not provide any supporting documents as requested by Weekend Witness.

But reliable sources are adamant there has been no such approval.

When asked, the Department for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs did not respond to questions by the time of going to print and numerous calls to Dube-Ncube were not answered on Friday.

Hadebe was appointed in June 2016 for a period of three months, after council suspended the then municipal manager, Mxolisi Nkosi in March last year. When his three month contract expired, council made an application in writing to Dube-Ncube to extend the period of his acting appointment for another three months.

Since then, Hadebe has held the acting position but according to the Local Government Municipal Systems Amendment Act, “A municipal council may, in special circumstances and on good cause shown, apply in writing to the MEC for local government to extend the period of appointment ... for a further period that does not exceed three months.”

Former Msunduzi speaker Babu Baijoo agreed “wholeheartedly” with the Systems Act saying that one person cannot serve for more than six months as acting municipal manager. Baijoo, who was brought in as part of the team to save Msunduzi when the City was placed under administration in 2010, said it was “very clear” that Hadebe was acting illegally.

“It is very clear that almost all decisions taken since early December in the municipality are not valid. Basically the municipality is trading illegally since then,” Baijoo said.

Member of Parliament and DA Chief Whip Mark Steele said that without a full council resolution to keep Hadebe on as acting City manager, “Hadebe is acting illegally”.

“The council and the mayor need to take responsibility and stop hiding behind deployments and secondments,” said Steele.

Caucus leader for the DA Sibongiseni Majola raised concerns and questioned why there has been no update on the processes in permanently employing a municipal manager.

The position was advertised last year.

“There is legislation that guides the filling of the municipal manager’s post. In that legislation it states that the mayor should submit monthly reports on filling this post but we are yet to receive this report from the mayor,” said Majola during a full council meeting this week.

Although he did not want to comment on allegations that Hadebe was in breach of the System’s Act, the IFP’s Dennis Ntombela said that Msunduzi was “desperate” for a permanent municipal manager. “We are eagerly awaiting the report from the Msunduzi mayor that he promised would be ready by the next full council,” Ntombela said.

Msunduzi mayor Themba Njilo has told the council he will provide the report by the next full council meeting next month.

Local executive for the South African Local Government Association (Salga), Sabelo Gwala said the matter was for the council to clarify and added that he could not comment further.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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