The suspension of Emfuleni Local Municipality municipal manager Lucky Leseane was unlawful and has been rescinded.
That is according to mayor Gift Moerane. Leseane was suspended on September 10 following a council meeting. It was said that he was suspended for not consulting council and having its go-ahead when he issued a memorandum to employees about an annual salary increase.
But Moerane this week indicated that the decision was not compliant with the law.
“In my capacity as the executive mayor, I stand in judiciary relationships in the council and I, therefore, require details of section 53.1 and 6 of the Municipal Systems Act to ensure that the municipality complies with the law. According to the legal opinion received, the steps taken by the council to suspend the municipal manager on September 10, 2020, was inconsistent with the law and therefore invalid.
“I took advice for the council to retract the decision to suspend the municipal manager in order to comply with the law. In the contest of council sitting, I will present the report on the alleged misconduct of the municipal manager,” Moerane said.
Sources within the municipality told the Sunday Independent that the move was orchestrated and was also part of an internal fight to allegedly protect the chief financial officer, Andile Dyakala.
“On the day the MM was suspended, he was supposed to table a report that would have required the council to act on the CFO. Instead, that was blocked and he was suspended unlawfully just to protect the CFO,” the source has alleged.
Dyakala and Leseane have not been seeing eye to eye on numerous issues.
This culminated in Dyakala allegedly threatening Leseane and he in turn lodging a complaint and calling for action to be taken against him.
The outcomes of that report were said to be part of the report Leseane was supposed to table before he was suspended.
Moerane also lashed out at his employees, accusing them of leaking sensitive information to the media.
“There has been a trap of leaking confidential council documents that are not meant for public consumption. I am issuing a stern warning for our employees and associate partners who have access to our information to refrain from leaking confidential information or face the music for their actions. As councillors, we are expected to have the highest ethical standard and we must lead by example.”
He said this has tarnished the municipality’s image.
“The integrity of the institution has been under serious scrutiny by the public and we need to act in a responsible manner that will restore public confidence. We also experienced the use of social media in an irresponsible manner. I would like to commend the action of the municipality manager for publishing a memorandum on the use of social media. I am appealing to everyone in the institution to act responsibly and use social media in a manner that would enhance the image of the institution,” said Moerane.
Over the years, Emfuleni has been in the spotlight for deteriorating service delivery and alleged corruption.
The report, by forensic investigation and risk management firm Comperio Consulting, has identified at least 33 senior managers in tender irregularities amounting to more than R800 million.
The report showed how officials irregularly awarded and fraudulently extended security, fleet lease, cellphones and landfill sites management tenders in contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the auditor-general report revealed that irregular expenditure at Emfuleni has surged from R870m to R1 billion.
The municipality regressed from an unqualified opinion to qualified.
The municipality’s speaker Maipato Tsokolibane told the council that Emfuleni had serious challenges.