Port Elizabeth – The Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth dismissed an application by Vuyo Mlokothi to set aside a resolution by the Nelson Mandela Bay council, which rescinded its earlier appointment of Mlokothi as city manager.
Mlokothi was named as the new city manager in October last year, but the council rescinded his appointment less than a month later, before he officially took office on December 1.
Executive mayor Athol Trollip said at the time that Mlokothi had failed to disclose crucial information relating to his previous employment and there was consequently no longer a trust relationship between them.
In his judgment, Judge Dayalan Chetty, found that the council of the municipality had acted lawfully and its decision to rescind Mlokothi’s appointment and appoint Johann Mettler as city manager was fully justified.
Chetty found Mlokothi to have lacked candour, had distorted the truth, acted in bad faith and provided patently false responses when he dealt with Trollip, who asked him pertinently if he had been suspended by his previous employer, the State Information Technology Agency.
Chetty also found that Mlokothi furnished a patently false answer in his application form for the city manager post when he falsely stated that disciplinary proceedings were not pending against him at SITA.
Chetty also ordered Mlokothi to pay the municipality’s costs of the litigation, including the costs of two counsel.
In a statement following the judgment, mayoral chief of staff Kristoff Adelbert said Mlokothi was in fact suspended by SITA and charged with misconduct in internal disciplinary proceedings, a fact he failed to disclose to Trollip and about which he furnished a false explanation.
After the council rescinded the appointment, Mlokothi was employed by the Eastern Cape MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Fikile Xasa in Bhisho as a deputy director general.
“Mlokothi then launched his court application, which was immediately followed by a separate application to the High Court by the MEC who challenges the appointment of Mettler as city manager,” he said.
“It remains to be seen whether the MEC will take action against Mlokothi in light of Chetty’s ruling,” said Adelbert.
Adelbert said Trollip was pleased that the decision taken by council, after his motivation to them about Mlokhoti’s non-disclosure, has been vindicated.
“This coalition government undertook to stamp out corruption and maladministration and it was simply unacceptable to employ someone to that position who was not honest,” said Adelbert.