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The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Ngwathe Local Municipality expresses grave concern over the ongoing employment of the ineffective Technical Director, Thami Malunga.
The Ngwathe Local Council, led by Mayor Victoria De Beer Mthombeni, revealed that a comprehensive 300-page legal report had cleared the controversial director of all charges. Mayor De Beer, however, also acknowledged the breakdown of relations between the director and his departmental staff. However, the council now faces a dilemma: reinstating him to his former position or negotiating a termination package, a financial burden the cash-strapped municipality can ill afford.
This situation stems from Malunga's suspension, with full pay, several months ago during the investigation of job performance-related charges. The ongoing saga highlights another instance of an ANC cadre deployment gone awry, depriving the municipality of effective staff crucial for delivering much-needed municipal services.
DA councillors have long voiced the following concerns:
Malunga's appointment was in violation of legal requirements as a municipal Technical Director should hold a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field. Malunga's qualification is in quantity surveying.
Malunga's tenure has been marred by a lack of control over his staff and incomplete projects. A notorious altercation some months ago undermined his authority and expertise, damaging departmental morale and discipline. This incident, widely shared on social media, underscored his ineffectiveness.
The mishandling of the investigation process further exacerbates the issue. Had the legal report exonerating Malunga been presented to the council earlier, before 13 September, its findings might have been subject to review.
This calamity exemplifies the adverse consequences of cadre deployment. The ANC's policy allowed the majority to appoint an unqualified individual to a crucial and well-paid position, where he failed for three years, all under the protection of the ANC majority. Instead of efficiently resolving the situation, attempts to dismiss him proved costly and futile.
We will exert pressure on the council to answer for this questionable appointment. Additionally, we will submit a formal request to the MEC of CoGTA for an investigation into this irregular appointment.
Issued by Carina Serfontein - DA Councillor Ngwathe Local Municipality