Mr LO Mabuyane
Premier of the Eastern Cape
Private Bag X0047
Mr XE Nqatha
Eastern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
Private Bag X0035
Honourable Premier Mabuyane and Honourable MEC Nqatha
Request for urgent intervention: allegations of misconduct against the Director of Corporate Support Services of the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality
1. I have received a request from the Independent Komani Residents Association (I-KORA) for assistance around a report of the municipal manager, Ms Nokuthula Zondani, of the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality (EMLM) regarding allegations of misconduct by its Director of Corporate Support Services (DCSS).
2. The allegations surround the DCSS, whose name I unfortunately do not know, who had allegedly, 1) terminated four acting officials without her approval, 2) appointed a driver in the speaker’s office, 3) recruited two traffic officers and four persons to managerial positions, without Ms Zondani’s knowledge and/or participation and/or approval.
This appears to be not only insubordination, but any expenditure resulting from these appointments would likely be deemed fruitless and wasteful upon audit.
3. It is furthermore alleged that the DCSS neglected to have maintenance performed on refuse trucks that resulted in them being declared unroadworthy. This allegedly adversely affected service delivery, and this had the domino effect of residents who felt justified in refusing to pay rates and taxes. The deduction I make is that Ms Zondani believed that this brought the municipality into disrepute and thus the charge of “placing the name of the municipality in disrepute”. (Annexure A, item 6 on page 3)
4. Ms Zondani submitted a report (Annexure A) to council requesting that the entire matter should be investigated and the DCSS should be place on precautionary suspension.
5. I agree with Ms Zondani’s line of reasoning on the DCSS’s precautionary suspension to restrict his access to the workplace. Especially since his presence at the office may impact on an investigation into the alleged misconduct and that there could be interference with potential witness/es and lastly further acts of misconduct might be committed, such as tampering with, or destroying of, evidence.
6. Ms Zondani accuses the DCSS of gross insubordination, unethical conduct, and gross dereliction of duty. Aside from her righteous indignation, which Ms Zondani communicates in her report, I cannot fathom how the municipality’s subordinate staff and administrative machinery had gone ahead with these appointments.
7. I also do not quite understand how Ms Zondani could be totally oblivious to the happenings in the hallways of her office or how these alleged gross malpractice/s could happen right under her nose. The dysfunction is quite clear, and the entire situation needs to be looked at, including an investigation instituted in the matter of the DCSS alleged transgressions.
8. In *** letter of 2 August 2021, addressed to you, I-KORA spokesperson, ********, echoes Ms Zondani’s recommendation to council that the matter should be investigated and that the DCSS should be suspended. Mr Xalisa’s contact details are included in *** letter should you wish to contact ***.
I-KORA’s attentiveness to the situation in the EMLM, and in Komani in particular, and its diligent advocacy work, shows how citizens are mobilising. It demonstrates the importance of pressure groups to help fight for citizens’ rights and for them to live in decent conditions, in the form of access to service delivery, especially the poorest of the poor.
9. It is clear that matters are dreadfully wrong at the EMLM as I have read that some construction vehicles were recently stolen, which has now allegedly been recovered. But the general picture, given a few online news articles I have read, is not pretty.
10. Kindly note that I have considered writing to the EMLM to raise my concern, but it is clear that the challenges they are facing seem to be out of control and/or their ability to handle, or there might be some other reason for the months’ long inattention to the severe problems in this municipality.
I have therefore decided to direct my correspondence to your good office with the request that you consider the evidence as currently on the table, and that you please intervene to assist the people of EMLM. I thank you in advance for any action/s you may take.
Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP
President of the United Democratic Movement
• Executive Mayor of the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality, Cllr L Gubula
• Speaker of the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality, Cllr B Van Heerden
• Chief Whip of the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality, Cllr N Ndlebe
• Municipal Manager of the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality, Ms N Zondani
• I-KORA Spokesperson, **************