Council meeting again ends in a tense atmosphere as Biyela’s contract comes to an end

Thabani Biyela‘s tenure as municipal manager has ended following another acrimonious special Endumeni Council meeting today.
The IFP wanted the Council to extend Mr Biyela‘s contract but the ANC and DA did not accept this. Mr Biyela returned from lengthy suspension some months ago.   Mr Biyela’s contract has officially ended and the Council could have extended it. However, it was decided by majority not to renew it.

Mr Biyela’s contract has officially ended. The Council could have extended it or simply not re-new the contract. However, it was decided by majority not to re-new his term of office.
Officials from COGTA, Pietermaritzburg, including Scelo Duma, observed the meeting.
There was yet another heated exchange between Speaker, Bongiwe Mbatha-Makhathini and previous Speaker Mdluli.

This was sparked after Mr Duma explained that the executive committee should be giving reports of their meetings to the full Council. He said this was not happening and this is not the correct procedure. Councillor Mdluli said all Councillors need to know what was happening in Council including a report discussed in exco (the executive committee) on the suspended financial manager, Bonga Mkhize, who wanted a settlement which meant her receiving eighteen months salary. This was dropped down to six months after a legal opinion.

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She has been on suspension since January.
Councillor Mdluli said Councillors did not know anything about this settlement agreement. Speaker Mbatha-Makhathini replied that he should have been given a report by ANC eCouncillor Mahaye who serves on that committee, Exco.
However, Councillor Mdluli said ‘this is not the procedure’ and asked the Speaker to withdraw the statement. Councillor Raubenheimer agreed that he too had no knowledge, asking that the matter be referred to another special council meeting.
There were further arguments after which Speaker Mbatha-Makhathini asked Councillor Mdluli to leave the Chamber. He did remark ‘that I am glad as I am not walking out this time’. Councillor Mahaye wanted the special meeting to discuss the  issues to convene within five days. Boxer Mpotshane is now acting municipal manager.

Siphiwe Ngwenya

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