Municipal manager suspended by mayor

A SOMBRE mood prevailed at the council chambers of the Polokwane municipality when it decided the fate of municipal manager Letsepe Thubakgale.

A SOMBRE mood prevailed at the council chambers of the Polokwane municipality when it decided the fate of municipal manager Letsepe Thubakgale.

He was suspended from work while investigations against him were being conducted.

Thubakgale, who had not seen eye-to-eye with executive mayor Thabo Makunyane over several issues, was suspended with full pay yesterday.

Except for Thubakgale, every municipal councillor made sure to attend the meeting to listen to an emotional Makunyane announce the suspension.

Accusations against Thubakgale include the misappropriation of funds involving the construction of an R86million International Convention Centre.

The money was allocated to the municipality from the National Treasury. It was allegedly not used for its intended purpose.

Thubakgale was also suspended for the "disappearance of a traffic camera" installed at the corner of Nelson Mandela and Vermukuliet streets.

He is also accused of having inflated the price of buying a replacement camera.

Makunyane claimed that Thubakgale, instead of purchasing the camera for R135000 had allegedly claimed that he bought it for R700000.

Makunyane also alleged that Thubakgale was a divisive factor among staff members and that he was "not cooperative".

The mayor lambasted him for overlooking the council when taking crucial decisions that involved municipal finances.

He also alleged that Thubakgale had authorised payment for incomplete services.

"After extensive consultation with various officials, we discovered that certain irregularities were committed," said Makunyane.

It was also said that Thubakgale had refused to sign a letter of intention to suspend him.

Attempts to get him for comment drew a blank yesterday as his mobile phone went unanswered.

Makunyane and Thubakgale apparently have not been on the best of terms for several years.

Thubakgale was appointed last year following pressure from the council.

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