Emfuleni Municipality accused of cadre deployment ahead of local government elections
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Johannesburg - Lucky Leseane – the municipal manager in the embattled Emfuleni Local Municipality in Gauteng – is ready to face the music on allegations of misconduct and poor performance against him.
The allegations were lodged against him by councillors, almost three months ago but Leseane on Tuesday remained steadfast that the allegations against him were without merit.
This is the second time in less than a year that Leseane is placed on suspension for undisclosed reasons despite the country’s facing municipal elections within the next two weeks.
Emfuleni Local Municipality’s mayoral spokesperson Lebo Mofokeng on Tuesday dismissed social media reports that Leseane was fired but said they wished to put it on record that Leseane was not fired but was actually placed on leave pending disciplinary hearing against him.
“The Emfuleni Local Council in its sitting held on the July 29 resolved to put Leseane on precautionary suspension pending consideration of an investigation report into allegations of serious misconduct and poor performance,” Mofokeng said.
She, however, did not disclose the contents of the allegations against Leseane saying the report was tabled as confidential.
Mofokeng said the media have to apply to the Council Speaker for direct access to the report.
Leseane confirmed that he was placed on precautionary suspension.
“I am cooperating with the municipality’s investigations but I do not believe that their investigations have merit against me,” Leseane said.
He said he joined the municipality in March last year and this year his performance was never assessed.
“I do not believe the charges of misconduct and poor performance against him.
“This year I was never assessed to support a charge of poor performance against me,” he said.
Leseane, however, said he is still waiting for the investigation report but would cooperate if the investigators find any against him.
“If they find me wanting.
“I would subject myself to a disciplinary process.
“But surprisingly, I asked for certain information from the investigators but they could not avail it to me.
“Adding to the confusion, is that my three months suspension will be due soon,” Leseane said.
Last year in October, Leseane was placed on suspension by the same municipality but the Labour Court in Braamfontein overturned it.
Leseane was removed following a decision of a full council meeting on October 30 but the court ordered his reinstatement on November 10 last year.
On Tuesday, DA Emfuleni caucus leader Tebogo Tlhokwe said the municipality has put out an internal job circular advertising several political support office positions despite November 1 elections.
“This move comes two weeks before the Local Government Elections which will be held on Monday November 1.
“The advertised positions are linked to the term of office of mayors and supporting roles within the municipality which is due to end in two weeks.
“The advertisement of these positions is a futile exercise as residents are set to give a fresh mandate of who will govern for the next five years,” Tlhokwe said.
He said the embattled municipality should rather focus on sorting out pertinent issues that currently plague the municipality.
Last week, the Sheriff of the Court attached the municipal vehicles bringing service delivery to a halt.
A month before this, Eskom also attached the municipal bank account due to non-payment of their R3.5 billion debt.
The municipality also owes Rand Water more than R1.5bn.
“Further to this, streets are flowing with sewage, roads are riddled with potholes and service delivery is non-existent.
“The municipality is not short of problems and challenges, the advertisement and filling of politically appointed positions should not take first preference.
“On November 1, residents of Emfuleni should reject the ANC at the upcoming Local Government Elections and vote for a caring government that will prioritise service delivery instead of positions for a few selected cadres,” Tlhokwe said.
Reacting, Mofokeng said it was council’s decision to advertise positions saying “the stunts pulled by the DA in their media statement is unfortunate as all parties are campaigning to win and the ANC is also working hard to win local government elections”.
“There are other cities who have taken similar decisions to deal with historical issues and create stability in their administrations,” Mofokeng said.