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KZN Cogta MEC warns new councils against purging officials on suspicious grounds

MEC Sipho Hlomuka warns against getting rid of ’inconvenient’ staff in municipalities.

MEC Sipho Hlomuka warns against getting rid of ’inconvenient’ staff in municipalities.

Published Jan 6, 2022

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CO-OPERATIVE Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) KwaZulu-Natal MEC Sipho Hlomuka has warned municipalities against the purging of officials by the new councils in different municipalities.

Hlomuka said he has noted with disquiet the recent instances where senior municipal officials have been purged by incoming councils following last year's local government elections.

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Hlomuka has called for an immediate stop to such practices.

“In an environment where capacity is notoriously lacking, we cannot have qualified officials purged from their managerial positions in municipalities only because they do not appear to fit the political profile of the newly elected councils. Such purges must stop with immediate effect,” said Hlomuka.

Councils, especially those that flipped from the ANC to other political parties, have been accused of purging staff members after insisting on staff audits.

The Zululand municipality was accused of purging staff members that had campaigned for the National Freedom Party during the November 1 local government elections after it said it had conducted an audit and found that some managers were not qualified for their post.

Newcastle municipality recently placed several officials on special leave amid allegations of insubordination, dishonesty and fraudulent behaviour.

In a statement, Cogta said municipal officials have constitutional rights like all other employees in the country and these must be respected.

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“Officials can, of course, be dismissed as a result of dismissible offences, but perceived political affiliation cannot be one of them,” said Hlomuka.

KZN Cogta said it finds it frustrating that while a lot of time and energy goes towards ensuring municipalities are properly capacitated through timeous filling of critical vacancies yet some councils are actively purging sitting senior municipal officials who are duly qualified and experienced.

“While we recognise the new political make-up of KZN municipalities following last year's local government elections, this does not mean that the newly elected councils are free to do as they please, particularly when they deliberately diminish existing capacity through purges of qualified but inconvenient employees,” said Hlomuka.

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