Dispute over appointment of manager
In an unprecedented move in the country's municipal politics, the council of the Vhembe district municipality in Limpopo has suspended its executive mayor, Irene Mutsila.
Mutsila was suspended with immediate effect on Friday following allegations that she improperly appointed a municipal manager, Joseph Silinda, on May 15.
It has not yet been established whether Silinda had gone through the normal employment procedure of short-listing and interviewing because his appointment was not communicated to the council, according to speaker Suzan Sibiya.
She said when the council discovered Silinda's appointment letter, it acted swiftly to nullify the employment.
Following the reversal of his appointment Silinda, through his lawyers, served the council with papers demanding reinstatement, said Sibiya yesterday and also confirmed Mutsila's suspension.
She said they were surprised at Silinda's demands "because we did not appoint him in the first place".
"Silinda's appointment was irregular and illegal, hence we revoked the decision. We knew nothing about it until we came across the appointment letter," said Sibiya.
"The fact that the executive mayor chose not to report to the council is cause for concern," she said.
Mutsila will only know her fate within 30 days of her suspension, Sibiya said.
"We are consulting with lawyers on how to deal with the situation before taking a final decision," she said.
Silinda was a councillor heading the council's finance portfolio committee before his controversial appointment.
Since his appointment was revoked on May 31, Silinda has not attended any council meetings.
Sibiya said they would also seek legal advice on what action to take against Silinda, adding that they had also reported Mutsila's suspension to the ANC.
Provincial secretary Cassel Mathale said he was not aware of Mutsila's suspension and referred Sowetan to the organisation's secretary of the Vhembe district, Paul Mainganye, who was unavailable for comment.
Attempts to get comment from Silinda also proved futile as he claimed to be in a meeting.