The Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality (EMLM) administrator Dr Vuyo Mlokothi’s whereabouts are reportedly unknown by councillors as he has failed to attend several council meetings without submitting leave of absence forms.
The matter was questioned by DA councillor Malibongwe Xhelisilo during an ordinary council meeting last Friday when the council’s whip announced the names of absentees on leave and did not mention Mlokoti’s.
Xhelisilo said disciplinary measures should be taken against Mlokothi who has been absent without leave (awol) from several previous meetings.
“In fact, the mayor must write to the Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Xolile Nqatha, and inform him that we no longer want him here as he has failed to deliver on his terms of reference.”
UDM councillor Mthuthuzeli Hokolo said he had not seen any change in terms of service delivery since the administrator had started.
“The people we are meant to serve are suffering and someone was deployed to turn things around in this municipality. He has absconded and no one from the ANC leadership seems to be aware of his whereabouts. Cogta updated his terms of reference and included duties of an accounting officer and yet he is not performing those duties. What is the point of us having Mlokoti here?” he asked.
ANC councillor Mzoxolo Peter said for someone who was put in charge of the municipality’s finances but failed to go work, he was derailing the local authority from delivering services.
“Who signs off finance documents that need him as the person in charge. According to Cogta who did not want us to appoint an acting municipal manager (MM), how are we expected to convene meetings without the administrator because he is supposed to sign the agendas? Cogta even added the duties of an MM in his terms of reference and yet he is not performing them. Maybe it is correct that the mayor must write to Cogta and query our status as a municipality because we are not sure whether we have an administrator or not.”
EFF councillor Luthando Amos said Mlokothi feared for his life because a faction in the ANC was planning to have him “eliminated.”
“I do not blame him for not going to work because it is not safe for him. The intervention by the executive council (Exco) did not bear any fruits. The municipality is in its worst situation than ever before and must be dissolved. There is no political will from the ANC leadership, we have political wheelbarrows who want to be pushed to do the work they are paid for.”
Cogta spokesman Mamnkeli Ngam said Mlokoti was working remotely for safety reasons, but was still in Komani doing his duties as mandated.
“The administrator’s situation has been aggravated by some chief stakeholders in the municipality. They have made it difficult for him to work at the municipal premises following safety threats. You will remember he was once chased out of his office by a group of people. Since then things have got worse. He has tried to meet with the municipality’s troika but they failed to avail themselves. We have heard certain officials from the labour department have been planning to remove him from the municipality.”
Ngam said Cogta encouraged EMLM leadership to work with them to ensure the administrator’s terms of reference were implemented, including the finance recovery plan.