‘Scores settled’ as another senior Msunduzi staffer is suspended

2017-07-25 14:02
Long-serving Msunduzi Municipality employee Dr Julie Dyer was suspended last Friday.

Long-serving Msunduzi Municipality employee Dr Julie Dyer was suspended last Friday. (File)

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Another senior Msunduzi staffer has been suspended.

This time it’s the well-known and highly experienced Dr Julie Dyer.

Dyer, who is believed to be amongst a pool of employees waiting for placement since June last year, has been doing work under the local economy portfolio in Msunduzi Municipality. She was officially handed her letter of suspension on Friday.

Dyer has worked in many portfolios of local government, including the airport, libraries, the art gallery, the municipal market, investment and local economy.

Her suspension is believed to be linked to the recent protest action by municipal workers in May when employees’ salaries were delayed.

A colleague and a member of the Independent Municipal & Allied Trade Union (Imatu) told The Witness that Dyer was summoned to the City Hall on the day of the protest in May to a meeting with acting city manager Sizwe Hadebe.

“She was called along with all other shop stewards in the municipality. She went to the City Hall and waited with the others for the meeting that actually never happened,” said the Imatu employee who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation.

He said shortly after Dyer left the City Hall that day, they were told not to return to their offices at the A.S. Chetty building at 333 Church Street as the protest was turning violent with striking workers burning debris and damaging property.

“We were told to go home. Julie did not take part in the strike at all,” he said.

It is believed that a few weeks after the salary saga, Dyer was given notice of intention to suspend her where it stated that she participated in the municipal strike.

“Imatu and Dyer responded to the notice of intention with proof of messages that she was called to City Hall for a meeting and then told to go home and that she was not part of the strike. But on Friday I believe she was told that they considered her response but she would still be suspended,” he said.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said matters of suspension were between employee and employer and she could not comment further.

The Imatu member told The Witness that Dyer’s suspension “reeked of underhanded things at play”.

“This makes no sense at all. It just seems like they [the municipality] want to get rid of the good people so they can do their bad things without being held accountable,” he said.

He said Dyer was a “highly respected and experienced” employee “who could help take this municipality out of the depths of the troubles it is in”.

Dyer is originally from England and has 25 years of experience in local government.

She graduated as a medical doctor and started her career as a mission doctor in Africa. She studied and obtained her Master’s degree in Public Health at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

She previously worked at Msunduzi’s medical office as the manager of health services where she managed the building of new clinics in newly developed areas as well as managing Msunduzi’s HIV/Aids strategy. She worked there until 2005 when the department underwent restructuring. Since then she has held a variety of different portfolios in local government.

DA provincial deputy leader Mergan Chetty said the latest suspension “seemed to be another case where someone crossed swords with management” at the municipality.

He said the factionalism within the ANC was “now starting to settle scores”.

“It is unacceptable as now service delivery to the people suffers. This is crippling the municipality and we hope that just as the suspensions of the other two senior managers [chief financial officer Nelisiwe Ngcobo and general manager for community services Boniwe Zulu] were uplifted, that the same will apply in this case,” Chetty said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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