PLETTENBERG BAY NEWS - In an open letter to the Bitou Municipality penned late last year, the Plettenberg Bay Ratepayers' and Residents' Association complained about what has been dubbed the "unlawful appointment" of its municipal manager.
This comes after Lonwabo Ngoqo was saved from the axe, after a recent failed court application to have him expelled from office.
It follows in the wake of the labour court finding on 13 August 2019 that Ngoqo's appointment in February this year was unlawful – after he was dismissed in 2012 over financial misconduct. The municipality has since appealed the decision.
The association's vice chair Peter Gaylard wrote in the letter that the contract of employment under which Ngoqo had been appointed was unlawful and therefore void. "This fact has been recognised by the judgment on 13 August 2019. The fact that the labour court declined to enforce the judgment has no effect on the status of the employment contract – it was void at commencement and remains so," Gaylard wrote.
As a result, he added, Ngoqo has held office illegally and whatever he has done in this capacity is unauthorised and open to attack.
Gaylard said the Bitou council, knowing this fact, has not taken any action to remove Ngoqo from office.
"In remaining supine, councillors expose themselves to liability for losses by the municipality suffered as a result of the illegal tenure. They have a duty to act conscientiously in the best interests of Bitou residents, and by permitting Ngoqo to remain in office and recompensing him accordingly, they breach the duty in question."
After various attempts the municipality did not respond to the letter before going to print.
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