IFP’s outcry over KZN Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka's intervention in the uMkhanyakude Municipality
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DURBAN - THE IFP in the uMkhanyakude Municipality has accused Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka of imposing himself as a judge in his intervention in the administrative problems facing the municipality.
During his meeting with the council and the management on Monday, the MEC apparently endorsed acting municipal manager Sabelo Madela and confirmed the suspension of municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi.
IFP caucus leader in the municipality, Makhosini Sithole, told the Daily News on Wednesday that his party was shocked when the MEC told them he recognised Madela despite the legality of Nkosi’s suspension.
A decision on the challenged suspension was still to be made by the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
“He came here and told us he was aware that the municipal manager’s matter is sub judice, but when he got into the meeting, he told us that he was recognising the acting manager. The MEC imposed himself as judge in this matter.”
Mayor Tim Moodley said he told the Cogta MEC at the meeting that he was recognising the council meeting on August 26, which took a decision to suspend Nkosi.
“He (the MEC) said I must give him a report on what happened at that council meeting and I have already written to him reminding him that the meeting was illegal, so we are waiting for his decision.”
The Daily News has learnt why the municipality could not pay the cellphone allowances to the staff after the bargaining council ruling to do so – it was not clear who had signing powers between the acting manager (Madela) and suspended manager (Nkosi).
The confusion led to workers resorting to strike, demanding the MEC’s intervention, which eventually happened.
Nkosi said the MEC’s decision also left him confused but he did not want to question him out of respect and opted to consult his attorneys, who advised him to challenge the matter in court.
He said what confused him most was that he won the matter in the Labour Court last month, but Madela took it to Pietermaritzburg High Court where it was dismissed as not urgent on September 23, adding that both parties had filed their papers earlier this month and were awaiting a date to go back to court.
“For me, this process meant I am manager until the court either confirms the suspension or dismisses it, but out of respect, I did not challenge it. The MEC would be filing court papers today to challenge that,” said Nkosi.
Nkosi’s contract expires next October. Cogta spokesperson Senzelwe Mzila said that the matter was a council matter and the MEC, during the meeting, was briefed by council on a number of issues.
“The MEC asked a number of questions to establish facts around some of the matters. For example, whether the council had taken the decision to suspend MM Nkosi through a meeting on August 26. This was then confirmed in the meeting by councillors,” Mzila said.