Tshwane council drama over acting department head to replace manager accused of sexual harassment
Pretoria – Yesterday’s special council sitting was marred by political wrangling stemming from disagreements over the person who should act in the position left vacant by the suspension of a senior manager accused of sexual harassment.
The virtual sitting was the continuation from Monday to deliberate on the report of acting City manager Mmaseabata Mutlaneng recommending the disciplinary steps to be taken against the department head.
The manager is in hot water after two female subordinates lodged complaints of sexual harassment against him.
The names of the victims and the manager had been withheld due to the sensitivity of the case and nature of the alleged offence. The Pretoria News opted not to disclose the candidate as this would reveal the identity of the senior manager in question.
The Pretoria News was reliably told that all councillors expressed unanimous support to the manager's suspension for three months with full pay during the closed-door meeting.
They, however, differed on the suitable candidate who must act as the head of the department.
Both the ANC and EFF were opposed to the candidate recommended by Mutlaneng.
Parties questioned the independence of the candidate after he had filed an affidavit in support of the accused manager's side of the story about the alleged sexual harassment.
That led to the two parties coming up with an alternative name of a person to run the department.
Council was forced to conduct electronic voting, which was never successfully completed after the EFF and ANC cried foul about the process.
The resumption of council sitting yesterday was meant to conclude the voting process which started on Monday, according to councillors who spoke to the Pretoria News.
However, the process was delayed after it emerged that the candidate nominated by the EFF and ANC was not in the good books of the complainants after allegedly failing to investigate their sexual harassment accusations brought to her attention.
Amid the new revelations, the EFF submitted a new name of a person working in the same department to take over for three months.
In the end, council supported the person proposed by the EFF to head the department and also pass the acting city manager's report.