The Democratic Alliance wants answers as to why senior managers from various municipalities in the province who were dismissed for fraud were paid settlements and not criminally charged.
I have written to the MEC for Local Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, asking him to advise how much was paid in settlements to these individuals and whether they have been criminally prosecuted and on what grounds the legal challenges for reinstatement were challenged.
In response to a written parliamentary question by myself, the MEC revealed that:
- Ten managers from eight municipalities in the Eastern Cape were implicated in fraud, maladministration, misuse of funds or insubordination. These municipalities include Buffalo City, Nelson Mandela Metro, Umzimvubu, Kouga, Port St Johns, Ngqushwa, Makana and Sundays River;
- Three of these persons were Municipal Managers while three others were Chief Financial Officers;
- In four cases a settlement was reached after dismissal or resignation by the individual;
- Two cases have been challenged in court and one CCMA reinstatement which is being contested by Umzimvubu Municipality; and
- A current Head of Department in Provincial Housing was suspended for more than six months while the Municipal Manger of Buffalo City Municipality resigned prior to taking up the HOD appointment.
It is unacceptable that individuals in positions of seniority and public trust should be paid settlements and not be criminally prosecuted, if need be.
If these successful challenges were as a result of legal procedural issues, then this must beg the question about the competency of those advising the state on matters of the law.
It is time that this government and province starts focussing on the moral aspects of governance.
To merely skirt the law if one is guilty of fraud and to be reinstated or paid a handsome settlement due to winning on a legal technicality does not bode well for the future of governance in this country and province.
As a nation and province we need to start instilling a code of morality and ethics into all governance and not merely resort to legal recourse for reinstatement if indeed one is found guilty of fraud.
Dacre Haddon, MPL