No consensus as Lesedi looks to appoint municipal manager

Executive Mayor of Lesedi Local Municipality Lerato Maloka

Lesedi Local Municipality (LLM) is yet to appoint a new Municipal Manager after consensus on the preferred candidate could not be reached at a special council meeting which took place on September 29.
It was envisioned that current Chief Financial Officer Paul Mpele would take over from acting Municipal Manager Isaac Rampedi, but the proposal did not receive the blessing of the majority of councillors.

 

Council had previously decided to give a golden handshake to the tune of R2-million to Ayanda Makhanya who was suspended (with full benefits) for no less than 21 months after he allegedly gave himself a ridiculously inflated salary increase.

 
His paid holiday ended on August 12 and LLM had since advertised the vacant position.

 
Their preferred candidate was Mpele, but a final resolution that would have seen him take up the important position could not be made after the ruling party (ANC) opted not to go with the recommendation of Executive Mayor Lerato Maloka.

 
After an ANC caucus meeting on the matter, Maloka abruptly ended the special council meeting and reportedly stormed out of the building – fuming with anger.
The matter was referred back to the next general council meeting.

 

Prior to his appointment at LLM in 2016, Mpele and three others officials at the Thaba Chweu Local Municipality in Mashishing (formerly Lydenburg) were arrested by the Hawks in 2012 – three years after R3.2 million was siphoned from the municipality’s coffers.

 
This discovery sparked outrage from the relevant community and they burnt tyres and barricaded roads in protest.

 
It would appear that the charges of theft that were made against him were eventually dropped.

 
Mpele was then redeployed to Umjindi Local Municipality (Barberton) before making the move to LLM.

 
“He was a dedicated worker who encouraged his fellow workers. As council we wish him well with his future endeavours as he has served us with aplomb,” Umjindi  Local Municipality’s Municipal Manager Pat Msibi was quoted as saying at the time.

 

* Staying on the topic of procurement at the municipality, three former ANC councillors were appointed as staff members at LLM. The head recruitment officer is none other than former councillor Teboho Tsoku who was a member of the mayoral committee. These appointments and the fact that Tsoku has the power to employ whom he wishes has raised concern from opposition parties who have also questioned why the Mayor did not invite her fellow councillors to a recent stakeholders meeting with Reatile Vopak that is due to launch a multi-billion rand project in Jameson Park. Heidelberg Chamber of Business and the Lesedi Black Business Forum also didn’t receive an invitation to this meeting – only a few selected businesses were part of the two-day discussions.

  AUTHOR
Michael Mentz
Journalist

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