The Mpumalanga High Court sitting in Middelburg has dismissed an application lodged by the Govan Mbeki local municipality appealing the court victory of its municipal manager Felani Mndebele.
The Judge believed the municipality was not proper in its appeal, and the application “filed without proper authorisation”.
Mndebele has now returned to assume his duties as the municipal manager but mayor Nhlakanipho Zuma says the man “remains suspended”.
Zuma said despite the court victory the council last week resolved to continue placing Mndebele on “precautionary suspension”.
“The resolution was taken on 27 May 2021 by council,” Zuma said, adding that the decision means that Mndebele remains a suspended manager until his issue is resolved by an internal municipal process.
Mndebele will face financial misconduct before the municipal disciplinary committee, a committee which Judge Hein Brauckmann said was unlawful and its findings invalid.
Mndebele had taken the municipality to court after being suspended by then controversial mayor Thandi Ngxonono late last year.
Ngxonono accused Mndebele of failing to deliver services to people, leaving the whole area with unremoved refuse and plunging the town into load shedding, amongst other accusations.
He was suspended and hauled before a disciplinary committee, which Mndebele took to court.
On 23 March 2021, Brauckmann found that the decision that led to Mndebele’s suspension September 2020 was illegal and violated Mndebele’s employment rights.
The Judge ordered that Mndebele be reinstated but then the municipality blocked Mndebele’s reinstatement with new court papers appealing the Brauckmann ruling, charging that the Judge erred because he didn’t consider that in the first place Mndebele was not supposed to go to the court but to CCMA or Labour Court.
Municipal lawyers argued in appeal papers that Brauckmann failed to consider that the same matter was dismissed by the Labour Court as it doesn’t fall within its juridisction but CCMA.
Mndebele returned to office last week but has been sent home again pending a disciplinary hearing into financial misconduct. He has been manager of one of Mpumalanga’s badly run municipalities since October 2018.
(edited by ZK)
Send tip-offs to email@example.com