LEPHALALE — Lephalale Municipal Manager Edith Tukakgomo has been put on special leave, according to a Council resolution dated 9 November 2018.
In the email sent to Mogol Post, Lephalale Municipality confirmed that this followed a special Council that was held in terms of section 29 (1) of the Municipal Structures Act.
“The decision to place the Municipal Manager on special leave was taken in order to afford the Honourable Mayor Moloko Jack Maeko an opportunity to investigate and address grievances levelled against her, raised by workers affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) and also to attend to a request from the Municipal Manager for the Mayor to intervene on issues relating to her safety within the institution.
The municipality is part of the South African government which is currently in a process of fighting corruption. Any person who witnesses corrupt activities is advised and urged to report to the law enforcement agencies.
The Municipality would like to put it on record that there is an investigation currently underway regarding the allegations of breached code of conduct by the Municipal Manager in terms of the local government: Municipal Systems Act: Disciplinary regulations for local government senior managers and upon completion of all processes, a formal communiqué will be published,” reads the email.
On 8 October 2018, workers affiliated to SAMWU gathered at municipal premises where they would hand over a memorandum of grievances against Edith Tukakgomo, which was received by Mayor Maeko.
Part of the memorandum had demands that the Human Resource (HR) Manager should resign with immediate effect and failure to do so, the employer (Municipality) should take corrective measures and suspend the HR Manager. It also stated that Tukakgomo resigns with immediate effect and that internal, temporary and contract workers be given first priority when there are open vacancies within the municipality, a matter which SAMWU identifies as a standing agreement between management and unions.
The details of the memorandum also allege that the Municipal Manager applied nepotism to fill vacant posts and accused her of misrepresenting signatories of the Collective Agreement by acting unilaterally on issues of appointment of employees and acting positions.
It also noted that interview documents with recommendations of the interview panel got lost in transit.
In a reply letter to the SAMWU memorandum, seen by Mogol Post and signed by the Municipal Manager, SAMWU was asked to provide evidence to be able to conduct proper investigation and provide report.
The reply further asked SAMWU to provide reasons as to why the HR Manager and Municipal Manager must resign with immediate effect.
In an exclusive interview with members affiliated to SAMWU, whom on Wednesday 21 November 2018 stayed outside the municipality, Tukakgomo went to work even after her special leave was announced. Mogol Post learnt that Lephalale Municipality is graded as a level 3 municipality and the salary earned by the MM is allegedly that of a MM of a level 4 municipality.
Municipalities are graded according to their respective population and there has to be a request for concurrence with the Council for the higher categorisation of the municipality before the salary of the Executives can be increased to the upper level.
They concluded that they were not going to take instructions from someone who has been placed on special leave and the reason they remained outside was in solidarity and to respect the Council resolution.
The Municipal Manager has not been available to respond to allegations against her.