Council votes to ask COGTA to send a manager

After firing a few blanks, the Endumeni Council finally had a quorum on Friday to elect a new (yes, another one) acting municipal manager.
The tenure of Acting Municipal Manager, Boxer Mpontshane, ended on Wednesday and the vacuum urgently needed to be filled – or as Speaker Bongiwe Mbatha- Makhathini said rather inelegantly ‘we need a warm body to be in the chair of the municipal manager’.
The six ANC Councillors were there en masse with the DA’s Dr Sandy Bedassi absent – due to his wife’s illness – and the EFF’s Nathi Khanyile was also absent.
There was a minute’s silence to mark the passing of the Speaker’s brother but tensions rose soon afterwards when two proposals were put forward: the IFP’s Callie Carelse proposed that Mr Mpontshane act again on a month-to-month basis until a permanent MM is recruited. Mayor Mbatha seconded this.
However, the ANC’s Councillor Mdluli proposed that the Council contact the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs to second a suitable acting municipal manager.
This proposal was also seconded.
The DA’s Anthon Raubenheimer sought clarity on this proposal and on the practicalities of getting COGTA to send a person up ‘as soon as possible’ .

Upon their return, the Mayor again stated that the municipality should use one of their Section 56 managers. Councillor Mdluli wanted the item to go to a vote.

However, Councillor Mdluli seemed confident that COGTA could expedite the process ‘before the close of business’.
Mayor Mbatha said he saw no need to ask COGTA to second a manager as the ‘municipality does have within its ranks capable Section 56 managers who can act… and we should not be seen to undermine them’.
Councillor Lucky Khumalo said it was not a case of undermining anyone but it was the party’s proposal after their caucus.
The IFP asked for a caucus. Upon their return, the Mayor again stated that the municipality should use one of their Section 56 managers. Councillor Mdluli wanted the item to go to a vote.
However, the Speaker again allowed the IFP to caucus during which a rather fragile Councillor Makhaba of the ANC left the meeting.
Once they returned, the vote on the ANC’s motion carried, 5-4. Speaker Mbatha-Makhathini said for the sake of keeping the municipal processes running, she wanted to rule that Mr Mpontshane act until the COGTA representative arrives in Dundee.
Later, Councillor Mdluli told the Courier that COGTA had a person on standby and this would ‘help to bring sanity to Endumeni.’

  AUTHOR
T Worley

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