The United Front and the DA tabled motions of no confidence against the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality (EMLM) troika for non-performance and for failure to include important agenda items in Monday’s council meeting.
The two parties respectively argued that the EMLM was in a shambles due to the lack of leadership by the mayor, Luleka Gubula, speaker Bongiwe van Heerden and chief whip, Nombuyiselo Ndlebe and failure to do their jobs, including the alleged deliberate exclusion of critical agenda items for discussion.
Gubhula indicated during a media briefing on Tuesday that the agenda items in question were deferred to the next council meeting to avoid council making premature decisions on important matters which could lead to litigation.
“There is work to be done. We did not want to take some items to council prematurely as that would lead to setbacks which could possibly lead to us facing litigation. Councillors wanted to discuss the previous council meeting’s agenda items, but that is not why the meeting was stopped. The speaker formally adjourned the meeting because of network issues.
“Councillors brought forth their concerns about the agenda matter in the form of motions and they were noted. We know council procedure is that a motion is tabled at a meeting and will be discussed in the next one.”
One of the agenda items that councillors wanted discussed was the precautionary suspension of the municipal manager (MM), Nokuthula Mgijima, and the termination of the contract of the community services director, Linda Bolani.
“The community services director was appointed by council and such appointments require that we write to co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC Xolile Nqatha for concurrence and he would reply by granting it or rejecting it with reasons.
“In this case he replied, indicating that we did not consider the experience required for the position because our job advert indicated a requisite five years’ experience, while the appointed person only had one.”
Gubula said the correspondence from the MEC was tabled at council which took a decision to terminate Bolani’s appointment.
“However, when we speak of the termination of a contract of someone who is already in the system of the municipality, you cannot just fire them because there is a process that must be followed. Council has not reconsidered her termination, the decision still stands. The administrator and the MM are working on the process of the termination of her contract. Bolani is still under the employ of the municipality as community services director until all processes have been concluded.”
The mayor said the MM had also responded to council after she was placed on precautionary suspension and had to explain to council in writing why she should not be suspended.
The Rep reported (No meeting: ‘ANC ploy’ July 24) that the MM was given seven days to indicate why she should not be suspended after council documents revealed only 19% of the local authority’s budget for its major service delivery project had been used in the 2019/20 financial year.
“We pushed the matter back because we did not want to do incomplete work and we do not aim to fire anyone. All we wanted to do was for people to account and establish why we have been lagging in implementing council decisions,” said Gubula.