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City of Joburg to fire 130 blacks

Joburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse. Image:Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)

Joburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse. Image:Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 16, 2022

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Johannesburg - The City of Joburg is adamant that it will end the contracts of 120 former ANC political staff members by the end April despite a legal threat by the lawyers representing the affected employees.

Early this month, the City announced that it would rescind the full-time employment of about 120 employees.

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According to the City, the previous administration under executive mayor Geoff Makhubo, had illegally converted the fixed-term contract of political staff members, making them permanent without following due processes.

Reacting to the legal threat, Mayoral spokesperson Mabine Seabe said the Joburg multi-party government had been clear in stating that the decision taken by the Mayoral Committee, Council and the City administration was and is a matter of compliance with the law, not a labour issue.

“In the instance that we are met with legal action, we will be opposing it. The City’s lawyers responded to the representatives of the affected political staff, stating that the decisions taken will not be reversed.

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“Furthermore, to reverse the resolution of Council would be an endorsement of the erstwhile Mayoral Committee’s unlawful and irregular decision. We cannot play fast and loose with the law,” Seabe said.

Earlier, lawyers for former ANC political staff members who face an exit from the City of Joburg have threatened to go to court if they are not retained.

Lawyer Mojalefa Motalane told the media that Section 3 of the Constitution requires the City, when deciding to take the decisions that adversely affect its employees, to adhere to a procedurally fair administrative process which, in the circumstances, required not only adequate notice of the nature and purpose of the proposed administrative action, but a reasonable opportunity to make representations.

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“It also demands a clear statement of the administrative action, when the administrative decision is to be implemented, as well as an indication of internal remedies in the form of appeals, if any.

“It is our clients' case that the notice is defective as the City seeks to make it seem as if there is another process that can be followed to safeguard our clients’ interests when a Council resolution has already been issued.

"The invitation contained in the notice is further irregular and disingenuous as it is clear that the termination of our client's full-time employment was after the unlawful Council decision a fait accompli," he said.

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He added that the invitation was an attempt to shroud the City.

He said Section 59 (3) (a) of the Municipal Systems Act indicates that the power to revoke a delegated power could be exercised, subject to rights that none has accrued.

“Our clients had as a result of the resolution taken by the mayoral committee for the city’s accrued real and direct interest in the conversion of the employment from fixed-term contracts to permanent contracts and vis a vis. The Council could not revoke this power without considering our clients accrued rights.

“The City is functus officio (principle in terms of which decisions of officials are deemed to be final and binding once they are made).

“It is accepted in our law that an administrative decision once made by an administrator, wrong or right, remains valid in law. The decision remains valid until it is reviewed and set aside by a court of law,” Motalane said.

They’ve given the Council until Friday to rescind its decision.

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Political Bureau

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