File photo: SAPS
File photo: SAPS

Court orders fraud accused Free State municipality boss not to return to work

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Jun 5, 2021

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A SENIOR Free State municipality official facing charges of committing R1 million fraud has lost his bid to overturn his suspension.

Matjhabeng Local Municipality strategic support executive director, Tumelo Makofane, was arrested by the Hawks in March, as part of the elite corruption-busting unit’s operation by its national clean audit task team for facilitating the irregular appointment of four other officials.

He has been charged with fraud, forgery, uttering and contravening the Municipal Finance Management Act (56 of 2003) and his alleged criminal acts caused the municipality to lose over R1m, according to the Hawks.

Makofane, who is out on R15 000 bail, was arrested with Izizwezidibene Spingkaan, Gloria Smith, Tiisetso Mahlatsi and Mantoa Mahloko, who were also released on bail between R8 000 and R10 000.

Makofane had approached the Labour Court claiming his boss, Matjhabeng municipal manager Zingisa Tindleni, had suspended him after his arrest.

However, the municipality argued that one of Makofane’s bail conditions was that he was not permitted to enter its premises.

Makofane told the Labour Court that his suspension is unlawful and in breach of the provisions of the disciplinary regulations for senior managers in municipalities, which require that the matter should be investigated, and based on the findings, a disciplinary process be instituted after a council resolution.

According to Makofane, his suspension is unfair and unlawful, since, he has not received any notification indicating that the council resolved that his presence at the workplace would jeopardise any investigation or endanger the well-being or safety of any personal municipal property.

He also claimed that he is suffering severe reputational harm and that there is no alternative remedy available to him.

Judge André van Niekerk rejected Makofane’s explanation and dismissed the matter, this week.

”I fail to appreciate the basis on which this court has jurisdiction to entertain the application,” the judge found.

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