The MEC for the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Fikile Xasa, has dismissed a resolution taken by the local authority’s council to fire administrator Vuyo Mlokoti, following a decision to extend intervention for a further six months by the provincial executive committee (Exco).
The decision to remove Mlokoti preceded the sacking of municipal manager Chris Magqangqana who was placed on precautionary suspension pending a hearing last year, and strategic manager Donovan van Wyk whose contract with the municipality had been renewed “indefinitely” following the amalgamation of three erstwhile municipalities.
In relation to Mlokoti’s sacking, Xasa said he recently received a request from Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality (EMLM) after an ordinary council meeting, to have Mlokoti removed.
“The administrator is exercising powers that were given to me by the Exco executive for a limited period. The cabinet has decided to extend the intervention in the municipality for a further six months, ending on September 14. He will remain administrator because we took away specific powers from council, like that of managing the entity’s finances.”
Xasa said he realised there was a misunderstanding because when his office intervened in a municipality through an administrator, it was only him who could exercise the power to fire him.
“However, I am in communication with the municipality for them to give reasons why they want him removed. If I am requested to review my decision then I would request a thorough explanation and reasons to that effect. Therefore the status quo with Mlokoti as administrator remains.
Xasa said he supported the firing of Magwangqana due to allegations of “misleading” council and failure to prevent the sale of municipal property, among others.
He said when he realised the municipality’s affairs were not going satisfactorily with Magwangqana in charge, everyone was against his removal and were siding with him.
“We were seen as those who were interfering, yet the municipal assets were sold in the MM’s presence. As the custodian of the municipal finance management act, having him fired is a good precedent to set.
As an accounting officer, if anything goes wrong in a municipality, you are the first person to be fired. We are satisfied with the decision to fire him, and managers who were employed without following due employment processes. We celebrate the removal of people who do not exercise the authority they have in terms of the law.”