Council locks manager out

Sakhile Mokoena

Sakhile Mokoena

Mpumalanga's Ehlanzeni district municipality has to revoke its decision to suspend the municipal manager after a ruling by the Johannesburg labour court this week.

The court ruled on Monday that Hugh Mbatha's suspension by the council was irregular and invalid.

Mbatha refused to leave his office when he was suspended last week, prompting the council to threaten him with additional charges.

Executive mayor Khosi Mkhonto said that Mbatha was suspended for alleged misconduct and corruption.

But Mbatha said his suspension was based on "feeble allegations" and was, therefore, illegal.

Mbatha said that after challenging the legality of his suspension, he was told that the suspension had been withdrawn.

But when he returned to his office, the locks had been changed and he was informed that he was still on suspension.

There was no comment from the mayor and she did not return messages left on her cellphone at the time of going to press.