The ANC majority in council today voted to appeal the High Court ruling interdicting any proceedings against the Municipal Manager
The past week was buzzing with the news that The Govan Mbeki Municipal Manager, Mr Felani Mndebele won his case against GMM. It is not exactly true.
Mr Felani Mndebele was able to obtain a court interdict against the municipality effectively halting the continuation of disciplinary actions against him. If GMM complies with certain laws and regulations they can continue with the proceedings.
The saga can only be described as a ping pong game where the ball is tossed from one to the other.
The judgement of the High Court is not painting a rosy picture of the municipality. It would appear as if the ANC in their majority in council will not hesitate to use any means possible to get rid of the MM.
“The DA is of the opinion that the incurrence of exorbitant legal fees on the part of the municipality to fight battles in the high court intended to protect ANC cadres, and the double payment of acting officials and suspended officials is further wastage of public funds that the bankrupt Govan Mbeki Municipality simply cannot afford – and could have been put to better use if it was allocated towards delivering much needed services that residents and businesses have been stepping up to the task for at their cost,“ said Councillor Jordaan before the council meeting.
“This ruling further affirms that the attempts of individuals within the ANC to avoid accountability from serious allegations that have come to light by throwing others under the bus – and wasting away whatever pennies the municipality has left in the process – is a poor and obvious strategy that is continuously emphasizing the incapability of the ruling party to govern.” She concluded.
Councill considered the judgement and way forward in a closed session (for this item) today during a scheduled council meeting.
The ruling majority party continued to push through the appeal process against the High Court ruling, even in the face of stiff opposition calling for the adherence to the court ruling.
All opposition parties present in the meeting asked to have their discomfort and disapproval noted against the ANC vote. The ANC councillors were all in favour to appeal the ruling despite the exorbitant costs involved with High Court litigation.
Sources within the municipality speculates that these costs are already close to a million Rand but this could not be confirmed.
It is also clear that any method necessary would be used to rid the municipality of the MM.
The disciplinary procedures call for certain steps to be taken that was not done.
Judge Brauckmann said in his judgement Govan Mbeki’s failure to follow the procedures is not only a breach of the agreement, but also unlawful as it violates the regulations.
Brauckmann also said that the court is of the view that Govan Mbeki Municipality and Mphoke Magane (as the second respondent) disregarded Felani’s right to a fair hearing before the disciplinary committee, and even before the hearing.
The forced participation by Felani in proceedings without his council was also criticized by Brauckmann
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The judgement states the following:
- That the disciplinary procedures instituted against the Govan Mbeki Municipal Manager, Mr Felani Mndebele, is declared unlawful, null and void
- No further disciplinary action can continue until GMM complies with Local Government: Municipal Regulations on Financial Misconduct, Procedures and Criminal Proceedings dated 30 May 2014.
- That the appointment of the presiding officer of the disciplinary hearing, Mphoke Magane, is declared unlawful, null and void.
- GMM is in breach of the contract entered into between GMM and the MM on 5 October 2015
- Costs are awarded in favour of the applicant, Felani Mndebele
Against all this the ANC majority chose to appeal the judgement.
The municipality have had several doubtful appointments in the past. One such appointment would be the past CFO. Opposition parties refused to approve the appointment of the CFO but was overruled by the ANC majority. This is even despite the fact that that his psychometric tests returned with only a basic competency. The appointment was approved with an ANC majority despite the applicable laws prohibiting such an appointment.
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Disciplinary procedure were instituted against the CFO. This was also not handled correctly and the CFO was reinstated, only to have new procedures instituted against him. This also came with a huge price tag to GMM.
Ciska said that “the residents of Govan Mbeki deserve a capable and accountable municipality that is run by a party that is characterized by good service. The chance to elect such a party is presenting itself in the upcoming Local Government Elections. We implore voters in Govan Mbeki to give the DA a chance to govern with capability and accountability, as we are in the Western Cape where innovation and service takes precedence to petty politics.”