08 March 2019
South African Communist Party
Castro Pilusa District
RESPONSE TO THE SACP MEMORANDUM OF DEMANDS DATED 01 MARCH 2019
Capricorn District Municipality notes the allegations and demands made by the SACP Castro Pilusa District during their march on 01 March 2019. Although the memorandum was addressed to and received by CoGHSTA, CDM hopes that the following will provide readers with a mature understanding of the substance and context regarding the allegations made about Executive Mayor, Cllr. John Mpe during the march – which are ignorant at best and baseless at worst.
Alleged abuse of powers and removal of officials
The memorandum avers that upon becoming the Executive Mayor, Cllr. John Mpe caused removal of officials who were “mandated to handle his disciplinary case”. It suffices to state that the said officials were senior managers appointed in terms of section 56 of the Local Government: Municipal systems Act, no. 32 of 2000, as amended. Such employees are appointed exclusively by Council, and can only be disciplined by Council. The disciplinary proceedings of the said officials were initiated by the previous Council (2011-2016) and inherited by the current Council, which had a duty to finalise their cases. It was during this process that they resigned voluntarily and Council accepted their resignations.
To suggest that Cllr. John Mpe dismissed the officials is to undermine the intelligence and integrity of members of the two Councils, let alone exaggerate Cllr. John Mpe’s power over the more than 50 Councillors representing various political parties in the Council. We state further that there is no Council resolution whatsoever ‘mandating’ any official to recover any money from Cllr. John Mpe, as stated in the memorandum. Recovery of the money would have followed a finding and recommendation of the disciplinary enquiry, whose contrary decision is stated below.
Alleged corruption, absenteeism and undue payment of payment
SACP mentions a case of corruption and of absenteeism against Cllr. John Mpe when he was still an employee, and therefore that he was unduly paid a salary for the alleged period of his absence from work. A formal disciplinary enquiry was instituted against Cllr. John Mpe on the said allegations in accordance with the applicable Disciplinary Code. The cases were dismissed following an investigation and enquiry. To suggest that Cllr. John Mpe used his position to make the corruption case disappear is to mock the independence of our justice system and undermine its competence. Being the vanguard of the working class, the SACP is best positioned to know that no employee can be tried again for the same charge/s and on the same facts. There is nothing in the memorandum to suggest emergence of new facts on the matter. Be that as it may, and even if it was legally permissible to subject Cllr. John Mpe to the second hearing (double-jeopardy), Cllr. John Mpe is no longer an employee of the Municipality and is therefore incapable of being subjected to a disciplinary inquiry.
Purchase of mayoral car and the accident
The SACP recycles the old tired story alleging that the current Mayoral Car was purchased at a cost above the determination of ‘the ministry’ and Council resolution. The R259 999 that is referred to in the memorandum was realized from the trade-in value of the old mayoral vehicle, which together with R897 180 budget, was paid to the service provider for the purchase through stringent supply chain regulations. Further that, the municipality did not incur any loss or wasteful expenditure in the transaction. In this regard, Council of the 30th July 2018 considered the Municipal Public accounts Committee (MPAC) report and resolved that there was nothing untoward regarding the purchase of the vehicle. The Secretary of SACP Castro Pilusa, who is a member of the CDM Council, voted in support of the aforesaid Council resolution, and it is surprising
that he led this particular march to protest against an item he voted for. Nevertheless, MPAC, like other committees of the Council, was established to assist Council in performing its functions. It is therefore disingenuous to project MPAC as the highest decision body in the municipality. MPAC like any other oversight committee established in terms of section 79 of the Municipal Systems Act to make recommendations to council which are subjected to deliberations and approval by Council, which the highest decision is making body for the entire Municipality.
On the issue of accident, we would not glorify such malicious allegations save to say all accidents involving any municipal vehicle are duly reported by relevant officials of the municipality and in cases of damages claims are then processed with the municipality ‘s insurers. The perception created by the SACP is as if the mayoral vehicle purchased by the municipality is different in terms of price and value to those acquired by other municipalities in the province for the same purpose, which they also know is false and deceitful.
The theft of the computers in the building was reported to the South African Police Services and they are the ones who are handling the case. If SACP has information that can lead to the arrest and successful prosecution of those involved in the case, it is advisable that they approach the Police Services.
Payment of old or ‘ghost’ Councillors
The debt came as a result of the pension contributions that were calculated and paid to Councillors, over and above their all-inclusive packages. In the circumstances, the affected Councillors were liable for the payment of the specified individual debt to the municipality. The current Council initiated recovery process and other Councillors have since repaid the debt in full and/or make re-payment arrangements, whilst others have failed to re-pay the debt and/or make re-payment arrangements. The Council has since directed that the 17 Councillors whose debts remained un-serviced be respectively subjected to affordability scrutiny and the process is ongoing. Amongst the 17 Councillors, is the former Executive Mayor, Mr Gilbert Kganyago, Limpopo Provincial Secretary of the SACP whom the municipality is still struggling to recover from him.
Alleged appointment of Senior Managers without concurrence of MEC
The Council acting within its legislative authority has appointed three Executive Managers. Consequently, the reports on the appointment process and outcome of the same Executive Managers were duly communicated to the MEC of CoGHSTA as dictated by section 56(4A) (a) of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act, as amended read with regulation 17(3) (b) and 17(4) of Regulations on Appointment and Conditions of Employment of Senior managers, 2014.
With regard to Executive Manager SEMS, the shortlisting and interview panel consisted of Municipal Manager of Lepelle Nkumpi, CDM Member of Mayoral of Committee, and a Councillor, representative of SALGA and of CoGHSTA who have the expertise in the recruitment of Section 56 managers. It is therefore a misnomer for the SACP to refer to such a rigorous legislated process as ‘self-employment’.
Although other demands belong exclusively to CoGHSTA, Lepelle Nkumpi Municipality and the ruling party, we need to state on record that we regard the demand for the removal of the current Lepelle Nkumpi Mayor and Executive Mayor of CDM as a mere cheap and petty politicking by individuals within the SACP.
It is common cause that the municipality is amongst the first municipalities that withdrew all its money that was deposited with VBS during era of the then Executive Mayor, Mr. Gilbert Kganyago even before the Provincial Treasury could issue an advice.
The SACP seems to be turning a blind eye on the successes that that the municipality has achieved under the leadership of the Executive Mayor, Cllr. John Mpe, since the year 2016 namely: the improvement on and maintaining of its grading from level 4 to 5; and the successive maintaining of Unqualified Audit Opinion and reduction of material misstatements, the 100% expenditure on MIG, WSIG and FMG.
Executive Mayor, Cllr. John Mpe detests corruption and his stance has always been clear – that corruption, perceived or real, continues to make public service the skunk of the nation and we therefore invite the SACP to move past resentment and be encouraged by the rise in transparency that we see and join us in fighting corruption without being malicious.
The memorandum appears to have been written by Cllr. Dan Mosena, a member of our Council and our records reveals that he has breached a Code of Conduct for Councillors in that from the beginning of the term of the current Council, he absented himself for more than three consecutive meeting of the Council without leave of absence being granted as during the same period contrary to the law, he was an employee of Blouberg Municipality, thus receiving remuneration as an employee of the Blouberg Municipality and further remuneration as a Councillor of CDM. The Ethics Committee of the Council is seized with the said breach because of the injunction of the Code which read thus, ‘A Councillor who is absent from three or more consecutive meetings of a municipal council, or from three or more consecutive meetings of a committee, which that Councillor is required to attend in terms of item 3, must be removed from office as a Councillor’
Should the SACP have any information contrary to our response with regard to corruption and/or criminal activities, it is encouraged to report to our Independent Anti-Corruption Hotline (080 020 5053) and/ or report to the Law Enforcement Agencies.