ANC in Joburg takes up cudgels with mayor Phalatse over firing of its former political staff

City of Joburg Mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

City of Joburg Mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 4, 2022


Johannesburg - Sparks are flying over the decision of the City of Joburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse to review the permanent appointment of former ANC political staff members in the municipality.

Now, the ANC in Joburg has entered the fray accusing Phalatse of being in a witch-hunt and targeting only black people.

ANC Joburg secretary Dada Morero said Phalatse’s and her team’s attempts were ill-informed and had no basis in law. “These employees were converted to permanent employees through a legitimate process undertaken by the mayoral committee.

“This decision was made public and known to everyone and every political party within our city. It must also be noted that the converted employees are mainly junior in the political offices and the conversions included all employees appointed during the Mashaba administration.

“Directors and deputy directors in these offices were maintained on contract and not converted in line with the mayoral committee decision for their contracts to remain effective for six months after the election of a new political administration,” Morero said.

He said It was interesting to note that the deputy director in the office of the Speaker, a permanent white employee in a political office, has not been targeted, whereas all targeted employees are black.

“Conversions of employees in the city are not new and the hostile and unwarranted anger in this instance is baffling. The ANC administration inherited 700 converted (in-sourced) employees, wherein no budget was allocated, and no adequate training and skilling were conducted.

“But the ANC administration, besides all the flaws in the process of converting these employees, made all means to re-skill and retain the staff and did not retrench anyone.

“The grounds of justification put forward against the conversions are mainly two: that the conversions are illegal; and, that the appointments go against the grain of the still-to-be-implemented directive from Cogta,” he said.

Morero said there was also a flimsy reference, by Phalatse, to a legislated practice around the “world that doesn’t exist”.

“The truth is that there is nothing in the law of this country and this city that prevented the mayoral committee to decide to convert those employees in political office from contract to permanent. This in fact is delegated to the mayor.

“Therefore, the argument that the action of the mayoral committee is against the practice and the law around the world does not hold.

“The attempt to scrape for grounds of justification for this ill-conceived and illegal decision by the mayor and her cronies ends up in an attempt to implement a directive, according to the mayor, ’that will take effect from the middle of the year’. Nothing can ever be more illegal and an insult to our democratic processes than this,” Morero said.

He said the law of this country was clear that nobody or entity may base their decisions on the legislation or directive that is yet to be put in place, nor can one use the law retrospectively.

“The mayor is being malicious and vindictive to want to use a directive that is still to be legislated. This is unheard of.

“It is undisputed that the late mayor Makhubo and his mayoral committee sought legal opinion on the conversions prior to embarking on the conversion process to ensure that the action satisfied all legal prescriptions and within the law.

“The opinion received was that the mayoral committee was within the law in implementing these conversions.

“It must be reiterated, that among the employees currently being made to suffer were employees appointed under the mayorship of Herman Mashaba. Their credentials and loyalty to the city were never questioned.

“They were allowed to serve under the late mayor Geoff Makhubo and subsequent mayors before mayor Phalatse without being discriminated against.

“We wish to caution the mayor to immediately cease and desist the attempts to get rid of innocent employees and in the process destroy lives and people’s future,” he said

Morero said her action would unnecessarily cost the city millions in legal actions that the city had no prospects of winning.

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Political Bureau