GMM once again appoints new Municipal Manager

The new Municipal Manager is facing a daunting task to try and turn the municipality around.

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The Bulletin News

Govan Mbeki Municipal council appointed a new Municipal manager at an extraordinary council meeting on Friday 28 September.
The council meeting was again poorly controlled by the acting speaker Cll Cyril Gwizi. The ANC has displayed a great disrespect for the will of the people. The appointment of the Municipal Manager is long overdue. The previous two Municipal Managers were seconded to the municipality. Mr Thisha Mahlangu was eventually removed by the ANC when he stopped some of the corruption in the municipality. Sources close to the ANC told the Bulletin that the suspension of the CFO is as a direct result of his exposure of the unauthorized payment of R3,7m.
The Democratic Alliance have raised their concerns numerously regarding the time that it has taken to appoint a permanent Municipal Manager and the lack of information they have received regarding an appointment since the end of the prior Municipal Manager, Mr Mmela Mahlangu’s contract. “The Govan Mbeki Municipality has seen a range of Acting Municipal Managers and Directors of departments since then, which has only added to the challenges that it is faced with due to constant change and lack of continuity in administrative leadership and apparent political interference,” said Cllr Ciska Jordaan, Ward 25 councillor and DA Caucus Leader Govan Mbeki.
The item regarding the appointment of a Municipal Manager was finally presented to the council during an extraordinary council meeting on Friday, 28 September 2018. It was presented in the item that interviews for candidates who had applied for the position were held on 24 July, while the advertisement for the vacancy reflected a closing date for applications on 1 June. It was unanimously agreed that Mr Simon Felani Mndebele would be appointed.
“It is disconcerting that the Executive Mayor would not, upon our request, provide reasons why it has taken such a long time after the closing date for applications to interview potential candidates,” said Ciska, “and why it has taken such a long time to present these candidates to the council when interviews were concluded on the 24th July already.” It should be noted that this was more or less around the time that Mr MC Morolo (current Acting MM) was seconded to the municipality following Premier Refilwe Mtsweni’s response to disgruntled protesters in Embalenhle who had called for the then Acting MM, Mr Thisha Mhlanga to be removed. “One questions then, if the process of appointing an MM was nearly completed – why did the ANC insist on removing Mr Mhlanga and appointing Mr Morolo for such a short time period, despite disagreement coming from the opposition parties?” asked Ciska, “Since the interviews were conducted, in 2 months’ time there had been ample opportunity in several meetings to transparently deal with the matter of appointing a Municipal Manager, rather than hampering the business of the municipality with political interference into administrative matters as described above.”
This is a clear indication that the ANC house is not in order and that the ANC has no idea how to solve the council issues. Issues that were created by themselves over the past few years.
The DA was also concerned with the requirement in the council document mandating the Executive Mayor to decide upon consultation with the successful candidate the effective date of his employment. “As the DA we have made it clear numerously that our trust in the Executive Mayor’s ability to carry out her task unbiasedly has been affected heavily by weak performance in critical matters such as the ESKOM debt, the refuse removal and the accounts fiasco that have been addressed by the municipality since she was elected to her position, and also by the controversial allegations of assault against her possibly indicating contravention of her code of conduct.” Says Ciska
“Though these concerns were not received well by the majority party, the DA welcomes that the Executive Mayor has vowed to appoint the new Municipal Manager at his soonest availability as a matter of urgency, and that for once an official in the Govan Mbeki Municipality has been appointed based on merit, a successful interview and the most preferred competency out of all the candidates that have applied.”
The new Municipal Manager is facing a daunting task to try and turn the municipality around. Every attempt and offer for help have been met with resistance and defiance from the current ruling party. It would seem that there is no will to fix the municipality.
“Even though we hope sincerely that Mr Mndebele can manage with the innumerable financial and administrative challenges that this municipality faces and that the municipality would benefit from some stability in its management, we remain painfully aware that prior mismanagement, financial incompetency and ever-escalating debts may present him with an unsolvable difficulty” stated Ciska, “only a change in Government can bring about a change in the manner that the Govan Mbeki Municipality is led. The DA is the only party with a proven track record of clean audits, honest and transparent governance and exceptional service delivery, such as can be seen in DA-run Midvaal Municipality and Gauteng Metros.”
Govan Mbeki Municipality is in dire need of someone that can turn the ship around. Will Simon Felani Mndebele be the answer? Will the ANC allow him to do his job? Only time will tell.

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