Overdue suspension on section 56/57 managers cost Limpopo Millions

By Jacques Smalle (MPL), Spokesperson COGHSTA Limpopo:

The DA in Limpopo is concerned that Limpopo municipalities could have manage to execute mandates had it not be for the growing trend of high level management suspensions and delay in investigations across Limpopo municipalities.

In a recent reply to the DA’s parliamentary questions (click-here), the department of COGHSTA has indicated that at least 6 municipal managers have been suspended in the last three financial years. Four of the six municipal managers from Mopani, Thabazimbi, Lepelle-Nkumpi and Mokgalakwena municipality were suspended on the basis of financial misconduct which cost the taxpayers a total of R 4 897 539 million.

The department could not provide adequate information on the reasons or the remuneration and hidden costs involved in the suspension of Thulamela and Polokwane local municipality managers. The only indication regarding the latter is that disciplinary measures are still in process.

The Greater Tzaneen municipal manager was suspended on 4th April 2014 and his case was only finalised on the 30th January 2015. During 2010/11, this municipality’s Engineering Director was suspended due to incompetence and his refusal to sign employment/ performance contracts and the disciplinary action is in progress. During this period, he earned R 100 000 per month for a duration of 9 months.

Moreover, an additional R 1.9 million was paid to the Director of Technical services at Bela-Bela municipality as well as the CFO of Thabazimbi local municipality.

Some of these municipalities’ actions are in stark contrast to the prescribed timeframe of 60 days in which to conduct disciplinary procedures. Any disciplinary cases which exceed a period of 12 months are cause for concern for the DA and their finalisation must be expedited.

The DA worries that these municipalities more often than not, have to remunerate both the suspended officials and their ‘acting’ replacements.

Although disputable, the ANC led government’s deployment policies and infightings of political change often contribute towards the instability of local governance. It must also be understood that corruption is a threat to our fledgling democracy, an enemy to a developing society and a hindrance to the delivery of crucial services in Limpopo.

The DA calls upon on the MEC for COGHSTA, to effectively manage the constraints in effecting the dismissal of officials and in finalising misconduct cases expeditiously.

The MEC is urged to release a comprehensive report of all suspensions across all municipalities for the last 5 financial years which includes the cases of maladministration, fraud and corruption as promised by the department’s 2015/16 Annual Performance Plan.

The DA led government in the Western Cape will suspend an official with immediate effect and start with disciplinary actions to ensure that the tax payers’ monies are accounted for.