mayor gives wife top job

GERT Sibande district municipality in Mpumalanga has defended its executive mayor's decision to appoint his wife as his spokesperson.

GERT Sibande district municipality in Mpumalanga has defended its executive mayor's decision to appoint his wife as his spokesperson.

Concerned residents have complained that mayor Andries Gamede influenced the council decision to employ his wife, Zamagambu Memela, to the communication section of the municipality.

Sources in the Ermelo-based municipality say that before the local government elections in 2005, Gamede, who at the time was mayor of Mkhondo municipality in Piet Retief, had everything to do with Memela's appointment as municipal spin doctor.

"He was the deputy chairperson of the ANC in Gert Sibande district and a member of the provincial executive committee and used these positions to influence the decision to employ his wife before the elections," a source said.

"Immediately after the election process was completed, it was announced that Gamede was the next executive mayor of the district."

Municipal manager Mbuleleni Ngcobo told Sowetan yesterday that he was satisfied with Memela's appointment "because all the necessary procedures were followed".

Sowetan's sources also said that when Gamede came into office he terminated all contracts (five-year contracts) of the top management before the expiry dates.

The affected people were municipal manager Suresh Sewnarain, chief financial officer Johan Erasmus, Charles Maseko, who was executive director: corporate, and Danie Kruger, executive director: infrastructure.

But Ngcobo says these people's contracts were coming to an end and that "a mutual agreement" ending their contracts was signed between them and the municipality.

"Only Erasmus took the municipality to court, alleging unfair dismissal but his case was dismissed with costs by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein."

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