‘Axing’ of CFO ‘unlawful’: EFF

Luthando Amos of the EFF

The EFF has written to Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality (EMLM) administrator Monwabisi Somana, expressing their “disgust” in the wake of the unprecedented “axing” of the institution’s CFO just two weeks before her resignation is due to take effect at the end of August.

In an EMLM internal communiqué by the administrator leaked to The Rep and addressed to all employees, Somana does not give reasons for the immediate “release” of chief executive officer (CFO) Nolubabalo Gqola.

“After prudent consideration my office has decided to release Ms Gqola as CFO with effect from August 7. Estelle Mbele-Tyali has since been appointed acting CFO with effect from August 13, until advised otherwise,” reads the communiqué.

The administrator appealed to officials and councillors to co-operate, and that anyone who did not would be subjected to an investigation for breach of the code of conduct for councillors and officials respectively.

Gqola served her resignation notice on July 14, to come into effect on August 28. However, she was unexpectedly fired on August 6. A letter from the CFO’s legal team, Grant and Swanepoel Attorneys, which is in possession of The Rep, indicates that Gqola accepted the administrator’s waiver for her release on condition that she be duly compensated as prescribed by section 38 of the basic conditions of employment act.

“We place on record that by operation of law, our client requires that she be paid for the remainder of the period she would have otherwise worked up and until the expiry of her notice of termination.

“In addition, our client further requires and is permitted to do so by law to demand that she be paid for all annual leave accrued to her up and until the end of her initial notice period, August 28.”

A letter by EFF chief whip in EMLM, Luthando Amos, addressed to the administrator and copied to premier Oscar Mabuyane and co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Xolile Nqatha, indicated the party members were pained by Somana’s unethical behaviour.

“We are pained and disgusted by your unethical behaviour and the mediocrity you have presented. In our view your conduct is illegal, unlawful and criminal. You do not have authority to hire and fire any section 52 manager.

“We want to caution you that the financial transaction you would have signed with your illegally appointed (acting) CFO from August 14 will be criminal. A case of theft against you and your illegally appointed CFO will be opened without hesitation.”

Speaking to The Rep, Amos questioned Gqola’s abrupt “firing”, insinuating that the administrator may have released the CFO due to a possible ‘interest’ that would benefit him financially.

“How do you fire someone who only has two weeks until her resignation is effective? Something is very strange about the useless administrator’s conduct. We told Gqola to continue going to work until the matter is resolved.”

EMLM spokesman Lonwabo Kowa said the CFO was not fired, but that her resignation notice period was shortened after the administrator decided to release her early due to his realising that Gqola’s presence had a negative effect on the implementation of the financial recovery plan (FRP).

“An acting CFO was swiftly appointed to ensure the smooth running of the budget and treasury department and implementation of the FRP. All that is due to Gqola will be paid to her.

“The municipality is under administration and there are decisions the administrator is mandated to take. It must be clear that the administrator did not fire the CFO, he only shortened her notice period after she had resigned.”

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