Suspended PRO says manager a dictator

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

A war of words has erupted between suspended assistant manager for public relations of the uMzinyathi district municipality, Vusi Mdletshe, and his manager, Otto Kunene.

Mdletshe was suspended in September for failing to finish a funeral programme for a former deputy mayor.

He said the suspension was unfair and that Kunene was running the municipality "like a dictator".

Kunene has lashed out at Mdletshe, saying the action against him was "above board".

"I was suspended on September 4 and I'm still waiting for a hearing to be held," said Mdletshe.

He said his union had written several letters to Kunene asking for the date of the hearing, but he had not responded.

"I don't know when am I going to appear before a disciplinary committee. I'm just clueless" said Mdletshe.

He continues to draw a full salary.

But Kunene has denied the allegations.

He has blamed Mdletshe for the delays and said Mdletshe had dumped his lawyer.

Kunene said the municipality was considering the appointment of the chairman of the disciplinary hearing. Once an appointment had been made the parties concerned would be canvassed for a date for the hearing.

"Mdletshe's lawyer, Singa Shabalala, informed us after the adjournment of the enquiry that he could not get hold of Mdletshe to sign documents, which would lead to the finalisation of the matter. We waited for three weeks for the lawyer to come back to us," he said.

This is not the first time that Kunene's management style has come under the spotlight.

Three years ago he suspended his deputy, Sipho Dubazane. But Dubazane is still in office and continues to earn R650000 a year - for doing nothing.

Sowetan has learnt that four department managers have resigned in the past three months because they could no longer accept Kunene's "dictatorial" management style. The managers headed the development planning, the corporate services, the technical services and the IDP departments.

A development manager, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he resigned because the municipality was "not worker-friendly".

"If Kunene did not like your idea, it would never be used, no matter how good it was. He controls everything. If he does not want something to be done, it won't be done."