Reinstate official or face jail, Tshwane city manager told

A view of the City of Tshwane, from Freedom Park.
A view of the City of Tshwane, from Freedom Park.

The acting city manager of Tshwane, Moeketsi Ntsimane, is facing arrest if he fails to lift the suspension of the council's head of human settlements Nontobeko Memela within five days of a court order issued on Friday.

Ntsimane was found guilty of contempt of court after he kept Memela on suspension despite an order instructing him to lift it.

"The second respondent, Mr M Ntsimane, is found guilty of being in contempt of the order of this court dated 20 June 2019 by suspending the applicant and keeping her suspended. Mr M Ntsimane is committed to imprisonment for a period of three months, which sentence is wholly suspended on condition that he complies with the court order of 20 June 2019 within five days of this order," said judge Connie Prinsloo of the Johannesburg labour court.

Memela was suspended in November last year after allegations of financial misconduct. In February, the municipality extended Memela's suspension for three months.

But Memela challenged the decision of the city in court arguing that it could only extend her suspension if disciplinary proceedings had begun. On March 14, the court declared the extension valid.

In June, Memela wrote a letter alerting the municipality that her suspension had exceeded six months and that it was unlawful. She did not get any reply from the city and was left with no choice but to approach the court.

On June 12, Memela was issued with another notice of suspension by the city, which was exactly the same as the one she received in February.

She made an urgent application in court and on June 20, her suspension was found unlawful and the court ordered that it be lifted immediately.

The city, however, applied for leave to appeal and it was granted in July.

Memela applied to the court for an urgent implementation of the June judgment pending the outcome of the appeal.

The urgent application was set down for hearing on September 5 but the municipality was yet to file a notice of appeal. The city's failure to file the notice meant that there was no appeal pending, thus the June 20 order stood.

Ntsimane was ordered to lift Memela's suspension within five days or face jail time for three months.

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