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Seniors booted – Polokwane Municipality at war with top officials

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Polokwane Municipality on Tuesday resolved to suspend three senior managers after letters of intention to suspend had been served on seven of its eight senior managers, including acting Municipal Manager Ndavhe Ramakuela, a week ago.
Letters of intention to suspend were served on Chief Financial Officer, Fikile Mudau; Director Corporate and Shared Services, California Phanyane; Director: Transportation Services, Molatelo Rapetsoa; Director: Community Development, Ndavhe Ramakuela; Director: Community Services, Henry Lubbe; Director: Technical Services, Ndi-tsheni Sikhauli and Director: Planning and Development, Matome Makgoba.
“After considering the replies of the officials, Council deemed the allegations against the officials requiring further full and proper investigation and thus took a decision to suspend the Chief Financial Officer, Director Corporate and Shared Services and Director: Transportation Services from duty with immediate effect. This is because their presence at work might jeopardise the investigations and may interfere with potential witnesses and they may commit further acts of misconduct. The suspensions are with full pay and shall continue for a period of three months ending on 18 November 2015. Should the disciplinary proceedings not commence prior to 18 November 2015, the suspension shall automatically lapse,” Executive Mayor Thembi Nkadimeng, said in a media release issued on yesterday (Wednesday).
Nkadimeng said regarding the charges against the Chief Financial Officer, Council has not accepted her reasons on why she should not be placed on precautionary suspension on allegations pertaining to irregular appointment of a service provider without following proper supply chain management processes, performing of remunerative work outside her contract with Council without approval as well as non-disclosure and allegations contained in the National Treasury report on verification of compliance with Treasury Norms and Standards during bidding processes of some tenders. In relation to the charges against the Director: Corporate Shared Services and Director: Transportation Services, Council has also not accepted the directors’ reasons on why they should not be placed on precautionary suspension on allegations pertaining to their role in their capacity as members of the Bid Adjudication Committee (BAC) where they have allegedly acted in a manner undermining the BAC and the committee system of Supply Chain Management.
“Regarding the charges against the directors of Community Development, Community Services, Technical Services and Planning and Development, Council has noted that the allegations against these directors all relate to procedural irregularities in performing their duties as members of the BAC. The allegations also show that the Directors may have incorrectly interpreted or applied the SCM Regulations in adjudication of bids which are referred to in the National Treasury’s reports.
“The common factor in the representations of these officials is that apart from the role they played during the meetings of the BAC, there is no additional conduct in which they were involved which implicates them in allegations of misconduct,” Nkadimeng reported.
She said that while Council will still proceed to investigate the allegations, the risk that these officials may interfere with the investigation is minimal in view of the limited role which they played in the conduct giving rise to the allegations. “The nature and extent of the allegations against them is such that they are unlikely to interfere with the investigations. It is on this note that council has resolved that these officials should not be placed on precautionary suspension pending investigations of allegations of misconduct against them,” Nkadimeng reckoned.
The Executive Mayor undertook to provide Council with progress reports on a regular basis until the matter reaches conclusion and assured that Council remains fully committed to the smooth running of the municipality and acceleration of service delivery. This includes zero tolerance to acts that are deemed to contravene the legal provisions that guide the effective and efficient use of public funds to advance service delivery and the commitments made by council when it assumed office in 2011.
“The necessary arrangements are being made to ensure smooth functioning of the system in the absence of the suspended senior officials. This includes the municipality approaching relevant government departments should a need for additional capacity arise. Further engagement will be made with National Treasury and other institutions to ensure the suspension of the Chief Financial Officer does not create a vacuum that might jeopardise some activities that relate to the smooth running of the municipality.” Nkadimeng said.
This follows recommendations by National Treasury made after investigation into supply chain management processes related to the awarding of certain tenders.

Story: BARRY VILJOEN
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Photo: From left to bottom right: Thembi Nkadimeng, Polokwane Executive Mayor. Ndavhe Ramakuela, acting as Municipal Manager following the resignation of Connie Mametja in May. Fikile Mudau, Chief Financial Officer, under precautionary suspension. Director Corporate and Shared Services, California Phanyane, suspended. Director: Transportation Services, Molatelo Rapetsoa, suspended.