BITOU NEWS - The ANC/AUF coalition in Bitou has come under fire from the opposition after what has been called the "secretive appointment" of high profile officials within the municipality.
On Friday 29 January the DA lashed out against the appointment of the municipality's director of corporate services, and is also unhappy about the appointments of the new chief financial officer, and director of engineering services.
DA constituency head in Bitou Cathy Labuschagne said the party was "surprised" during an in-committee meeting by the "last-minute addition" of an item announcing the appointment of the three officials. "These officials will for the next five years control, among others, tender processes, payment of creditors, staff appointments, legal services, record keeping and information technology," Labuschagne noted in a statement.
She said the three officials had been appointed by a majority ANC/AUF coalition vote after the speaker refused to grant DA councillors the opportunity to caucus. "This is in contravention of the rules of order."
Labuschagne said the DA had particular concern about the appointment of Misiwe Mpahlwa as director of corporate services.
"During questioning by DA councillors of the municipal manager [Lonwabo Ngoqo], who headed up the ANC-dominated selection panel, he admitted on record, that the selection panel was aware that Mpahlwa was placed on suspension by the Ngqushwa Municipality for, among others, irregular payments to contractors totalling R5-million for jobs not done," Labuschagne said.
She said Ngoqo also admitted that the matter had been taken to the Eastern Cape Municipal Bargaining Council, where Mpahlwa failed in her application.
"During further DA questioning the municipal manager indicated that the selection panel had received a letter from the Ngquashwa Municipality confirming that it had reached a settlement agreement with Mpahlwa after it found that the charges against her were unsubstantiated. This is highly suspicious as a settlement of this nature can legally not be concluded once a bargaining council application has failed. If such a letter does in fact exist, the DA believes that its authenticity must be tested."
The other two appointments are Mphumleli Dyushu, chief financial officer and Luvuyo Ntoyi, director of engineering services.
"In the interim we are considering interdicting these appointments on various grounds."
At the time of going to print the Bitou Municipality had not responded to the DA's statement.
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