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Municipal manager fails in bid to halt VBS disciplinary hearing

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Aug 13, 2021

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The municipal manager of the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality has lost his bid to halt the disciplinary hearing against him for investing millions of rand in the doomed VBS Mutual Bank.

Jerry Mononela was initially suspended in 2019 after allegations that the municipality’s R49 million held in a VBS investment account had disappeared.

In total, the North West municipality irregularly invested R210m with VBS between July 2017 and March 2018, in violation of the Municipal Finance Management Act and the municipal investment regulations.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has found that the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality lost more than R150m in public funds that could have been used to improve service delivery.

Mononela challenged his suspension in the high court in 2019 but the dispute was declared moot as it was lifted by the council before the matter was heard. However, in February this year the municipality’s council resolved to suspend him on the basis of allegations of procurement malpractices.

Two months later, in April, Sifumba Attorneys, in its capacity as the prosecutor in the disciplinary hearing, served charges incorporating charges relating to new procurement malpractice allegations in addition to the VBS matter appearing in the initial charge sheet.

Mononela was unhappy with the move and approached the Labour Court on an urgent basis, complaining that the municipality had re-introduced the VBS charges that were withdrawn two years ago and that this demonstrated a shot-cut approach taken to dismiss him by all accounts.

He wanted the disciplinary hearing against him declared unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid.

Labour Court Acting Judge Moses Baloyi struck Mononela’s application off the roll for lack of urgency with costs last Thursday.

”The only appropriate ruling to make under these circumstances is to strike the application off the roll,” the acting judge said. He found that Mononela had failed to disclose when the charges were withdrawn and by whom.

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Political Bureau

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