Enoch Mgijima municipality directors come under fire

 Picture: BHONGO JACOB

Three senior Enoch Mgijima municipality directors are under fire as council probes allegations of bribery, appointment without credentials and gross negligence that has compromised the functioning of the municipality.

The Enoch Mgijima council launched investigations into the directors of technical services, community services and corporate support service after a heated in-committee session last week.

Community services director Linda Bolani is being investigated for bribery, non-procedural procurement of PPE and negligence of duties.

The appointment of technical service department director, Nkosinkulu Zwelethemba, was put on ice after it came to light that he was not a member of the engineering professional board, a requirement for the post.

Meanwhile, corporate support services director, Xolani Makeleni, is facing allegations of misconduct, gross dereliction of duty and gross insubordination, charges brought by his overseer, the municipal manager (MM), Nokuthula Mgijima.

In a closed council sitting, a report was tabled on how Zwelethemba had been appointed. She said all the necessary steps laid down by regulations for appointment of senior managers were followed.

A report by information technical services portfolio head, Noluthando Nqabisa, on the appointment of Zwelethemba was rejected because he was not registered with the engineers body and his appointment had bypassed the administrator’s office.

UF councillor Aaron Mhlontlo said he should never have even been shortlisted. ”Nqabisa indicated that she was going to reactivate his membership. I object to that. He is not a member and there is no way that one can reactivate their membership. If he is not a member it is the same as if we have not employed a technical service director. We will still have to make use of consultants. There are places he will not gain access to. It will be just a waste of time,” said Mhlontlo.

The administrator, Monwabisi Somana, then presented an item about three pending allegations against the community services director, Bolani. The first related to a formal complaint brought to his office by Mhlontlo over a circulating voice note which made it seem as if Mhlontlo was soliciting a bribe from Bolani. Somana said the mayor needed to act on the allegations.

He also alleged Bolani had procured PPE worth R390 000 without following procurement processes. The council resolved on an investigation into Bolani.

Corporate support services director, Makeleni, was under the gun after the MM tabled a report with accusations that included terminating contracts without permission, appointing managers for various departments without following policy, failing to perform required duties leading that led to the municipality not providing refuse collection.

Mgijima called for Makeleni to be placed under suspension while council approves an investigation into his conduct which, according to the report, “disrespected and defied the municipal manager” led to “irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure and brought the name of the municipality into disrepute.”

Enoch Mgijima spokesperson, Lonwabo Kowa said Makeleni was not yet suspended. A process into the conduct of the director for corporate services had been given the go-ahead by the council. ‘The MM will, after completing the precautionary suspension process, report back to council before a final decision is taken. He will be given an opportunity to represent himself and those representations will also be considered by council,” said Kowa.

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