Query on councillors

THE DA has written to Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality (EMLM) acting municipal manager, Siyabonga Nkonki, calling on him to cancel, with immediate effect, the salaries of 10 councillors, who were allegedly unlawfully appointed during the inaugural council meeting last August.DA councillor in EMLM, Malibongwe Xhelisilo said the 10 councillors should pay back the money paid in salaries since their appointment.

The municipality, according to the provincial Gazette of August last year, should have two full time councillors – executive mayor, Lindiwe Gunuza Nkwentsha and council speaker, Mzoxolo Peter.

“This meant that any appointment outside that provision would have been against the law. The municipality deliberately flouted this provision and went on to appoint 10 full time councillors, who have been illegally paid with municipal funds that could have been used for infrastructure and service delivery.”

He added that failure by Nkonki to comply with the request would make him personally liable as the accounting officer.

“The ANC is intent on cadre enrichment instead of service delivery. EMLM is experiencing severe service delivery challenges,” he said, adding that the DA would fight against dodgy councillor appointments and demand a service delivery focus.

EMLM communications manager, Fundile Feketshane said council had, in a meeting, adopted that the executive mayor and speaker would be full time councillors.

“In the council meeting above, only seven members of the mayoral committee were announced and the municipality is in the process of regularising the matter. [sic] This will include seeking condonement of the expenditure [on salaries] in line with the prescripts of the Municipal Finance Management Act when it deals with irregular expenditure.”

He said EMLM would apply for ratification for the concurrence of corporate governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC Fikile Xasa.

“The gazette provides for the maximum of 10 and the municipality has 10 in line with the gazette.”

However, speaking to the Daily Dispatch (“Controversy over Enoch councillors“ March 14), Nkonki was quoted as confirming “10 more councillors” were appointed.

Nkonki said Gunuza Nkwentsha had created a technicality when she announced members of the mayoral committee together with the municipal public accounts committee chairwoman, Marina Bennett and chief whip, Funeka Sopapazi.

Other mayoral committee members are Noluthando Nqabisa, Zukiswa Ralane and Sibusiso Mvana. Xoliswa Xelo, Luleka Gubula, Tembeka Bunu, Adele Hendricks and Madoda Papiyane.

It could not be established which grade municipality EMLM is, but it falls between grade five and six. Grade five mayoral committee members earn R655387 and grade six R891640 per annum according to the remuneration of public office bearers’ documents.

Cogta provincial spokesman Mamnkeli Ngam said the municipality was dealing with the matter. He said he understood Xhelisilo would be forwarding a complaint to Xasa.

“However, we don’t take a wait-and-see approach when there has been a transgression of the law. We investigate and the MEC will give the necessary support and guidance,” Ngam said.

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