job is yours mr powell!

IT'S official. The former municipal manager of Modimolle municipality in Limpopo, Charles Powell, is set to return to work despite his being dismissed after being found guilty on at least 10 charges of financial misconduct.

Powell was fired by the council in June. Accusations against him included failing to account for millions of rands that went missing from the council in the 2007-08 financial year.

During his tenure a cash management irregularity also occurred in that the cash book balance per bank reconciliation - and actual bank balance as per audited financial statements - differed by a whopping R11,8million.

A conditional grant amounting to R14million was unaccounted for in the annual financial statements and no proof could be provided that a general register for conditional grants had been maintained

Sowetan reported in the past few weeks that Premier Cassel Mathale had ordered Powell's reinstatement - which was denied by both the council and Mathale's office.

But Modimolle municipality mayor Kgaretja Lekalakala has now confirmed that Powell was returning to work after the council took a final decision to reinstate him.

But Powell would only return to work after they had completed the process of drawing up his contract, Lekalakala said.

Powell's impending reinstatement had been a subject of controversy after several communities in the area objected to it taking place.

Residents also staged a protest action at the municipal offices to show their disapproval of the decision to reinstate him.

Community spokesperson Zunaid Mosam said: "How can a person with such a record of financial mismanagement be allowed to return to work?

"This goes to show that our government does not take the concerns raised by ordinary people on the ground into consideration."

DA councillor Lourens van Aswegen claimed Powell's reinstatement was "unprocedural", saying his party would challenge Powell's reinstatement and work to have the council's decision reversed.