council axes three

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

Two top-ranking officials in the Mpumalanga municipality have been suspended after it was discovered they were not suitably qualified for their jobs.

The council also suspended Standerton's Lekwa municipal manager, Calvin Ngobeni, and charged all members of the short-listing panel with misconduct for appointing candidates who did not meet criteria. Ngobeni is accused of maladministration.

The report by the local government's finance unit, which investigated allegations of fraud, corruption and maladministration at the municipality, found that the municipal chief financial officer Khulekani Khuzwayo did not have the necessary qualifications for the post.

Khuzwayo's position required someone with a three-year BCom in accounting or an equivalent of five years experience in finance management but he only has a diploma.

Another official who did not have the necessary qualifications for her post is planning and economic development executive manager Sibongile Ramila, who is only qualified as a nurse.

Khuzwayo was appointed in 2006 and earns R450000 a year, while Ramila, who was appointed in June last year, gets a package of R350000 a year.

Investigators recommended that Ngobeni be charged with misconduct for not disclosing that his brother was the co-owner of Bizzi Bee Promotions.

Bizzi Bee Promotions was paid R200000 without following tender procedures for a sound system the municipality used during an event.

Meanwhile, the DA said the move would not resolve the problems in Lekwa.

"The ANC has to get rid of all members of the mayoral committee, starting from mayor Queen Radebe-Khumalo," the DA's Anthony Benadie said.

"They are just as guilty of mismanagement as Ngobeni and the municipality will only be properly aligned if these members are also removed from office.".

Mayor Radebe-Khumalo confirmed Ngobeni's suspension.

"A forensic investigation is currently being conducted at the municipality," she said.