Cape Town - Local Government MEC Anton Bredell has welcomed a Western Cape High Court judgment, which found the appointment of two senior Knysna officials to be unlawful.
The appointment of Luvuyo Loliwe as acting director of corporate services was found unlawful, as the council did not apply to the MEC to extend the acting period of appointment.
The court also found the appointment of Londiwe Sotshede as acting chief financial officer to be unlawful, since she did not meet the necessary qualifications required for the job.
Sotshede and Loliwe were appointed to act in the positions last year, and were reappointed in the positions by council in March.
Bredell had launched an urgent application in the Western Cape High Court, seeking for Sotshede and Loliwe’s appointments to be declared unlawful, as they did not meet the prescribed requirements to be senior managers.
Knysna Municipality was ordered to carry both parties' legal costs accrued during the case.
Bredell said the meeting of minimum requirements for positions were non-negotiable.
“This stance will also apply to appointments which disregard the prerequisites as outlined in legislation.
“We need people with the right qualifications to work in our local governments.
“These requirements are clearly stipulated in legislation, and municipalities cannot ignore it when making appointments.
“Ultimately, we are working with taxpayers’ money, and, as such, they deserve the best possible appointments to deliver the basic services they are expecting from their local authority.
“We need to maintain a firm line between the councillors, who are elected for a political term, and professional officials who are appointed irrespective of the political landscape,” he said.
While Sotshede could not be reached for comment yesterday, Loliwe maintained he did meet the requirements for the position.
“This is very selective, as in the judgment, it does state that ‘the MEC had failed to show that Loliwe did not meet these prescribed minimum competency requirements, and it cannot be found that Loliwe's appointment contravenes section 56(1)(b) of the Systems Act’.
“This paragraph simply means that I meet the prescribed minimum competency requirements.
"This is the main issue; it means that if Knysna wants to appoint me tomorrow, it can appoint me permanently,” he said.
The Knysna Municipality said the matter would be discussed during a special council meeting on Thursday.
DA constituency head in Knysna, Dion George said they welcomed the judgment.
“Mr Loliwe was clearly unsuitable for the role at the outset and we welcome the provincial government confirmation.
“The dysfunctional Knysna council is determined to appoint all manner of unsuitable individuals and we will continue to fight this tooth and nail,” he said.