The municipal manager said Ngxonono used to threaten she would fire him everyday.
A former municipal manager at the Govan Mbeki local municipality has told the story of how former mayor Thandi Ngxonono used to order him to break laws governed by the municipal financial management act.
The manager, Felani Mndebele, was suspended by Ngxonono last year before Ngxonono herself resigned after being implicated in a forensic investigation report uncovering nepotism, corruption and bad governance at the municipality.
Ngxonono told council that the reason she suspended Mndebele was because Mndebele failed to deliver services to people.
Few weeks ago suspended, the High Court found that the decision by Ngxonono to suspend Mndebele was unlawful and violated his employment rights with the municipality.
Mndebele had argued that since he was appointed the municipal manager in October 2018 he was subjected to the worse political interference he had ever seen in his whole career in local government.
Mndebele worked as a departmental director for the Chief Albert Luthuli local municipality, having served as a chairperson of the local IEC office in the same municipality.
He said that Ngxonono told him who to hire as staff members and also gave him the names of the tenderprenuers she wanted to do work with in the municipality in breach of the municipal finance management act.
Mndebele said if he didn’t consult Ngxonono he would be threatened with losing his job.
The court also found that the disciplinary committee that Mndebele was subjected to was not properly constituted and its findings are invalid.
The municipality has been ordered to pay around R1 million for Mndebele’s legal costs.
The EFF welcomed Mndebele’s victory at the High Court outcome, saying Ngxonono will have to pay the legal costs from their pockets as the municipality cannot be made to pay costs made through ANC “political factionalism”.
Councillor Thabiso Mofokeng said Ngxonono “dictated over” Mndebele, “forcing the poor guy to break the law”.
Last year October a forensic investigation report released by the department of co-operative governance recommended actions be taken against Ngxonono after it found she interfered in the employment of staff at the municipality.
A close ally of district mayor Muzi Chirwa, Ngxonono was replaced by Nhlakanipho Zuma when she resigned in a huff as mayor of one of Mpumalanga’s worst run municipalities.
(edited by ZK)
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