Municipal manager guilty of financial mismangement to head up Sundays River Municipality

The current Municipal Manager of Bitou Municipality (Plettenberg Bay) has been accepted as Municipal Manager of Sundays River Municipality, despite being found guilty of financial misconduct.

The incumbent, Lonwabo Ngoqo, has been found guilty on four of seven financial misconduct charges brought against him in 2011 relating to his post as municipal manager in Bitou. These include contraventions of the Municipal Finance Management Act, as well as an apparent violation of section 67 of the Municipal Systems Act.

Despite a less than favourable financial situation at Sunday’s River Municipality, Ngoqo has also apparently requested in his letter of acceptance that the offered salary of R850,000 be increased by R100,000 to R950,000.

DA Member of Provincial Legislature, Dacre Haddon, expressed his dissatisfaction at Ngoqo’s appointment and has requested the MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs Mlibo Qoboshiyane to reverse or stay the appointment on legal and moral grounds.

“Ngoqo has not yet resigned from the Bitou Municipality, yet is appointed to commence work at Sundays River Municipality on Wednesday,” said Haddon.

Haddon said the disciplinary process in Bitou was currently awaiting Ngoqo’s arguments in mitigation before sentence was passed, but, should he be dismissed from Bitou Municipality, then in terms of municipal systems amendment act, Ngoqo would not be able to be re-employed by a municipality until after the expiry of a prescribed period of 10 years.

“What happens if Ngoqo is already in the employ of Sundays River Municipality at this time?”

Haddon said a letter in his possession from the Acting Municipal Manager of Sundays River dated 23 January 2012 and addressed to the MEC, stated that Ngoqo was excluded from the original six successful candidates because “based on reports from newspapers, he was under investigation”.

“However, the Acting Municipal Manager, who wrote the letter, lied to the MEC by not informing him in the letter that indeed Ngoqo had already been found guilty of misconduct,” said Haddon.

Haddon said this was the second time the Sundays River Municipality had seen fit to appoint a municipal manager found guilty of misconduct.

Previously, former Sundays River Municipal Manager Speech Sohena was employed at Sundays River having been found guilty of 11 charges of inter alia gross financial mismanagement.

“The cavalier manner in which such important appointments are being made in this province is shameful.”

“If the MEC condones this appointment, then he must be held responsible for any actions that may arise in supporting this questionable and unethical appointment,” said Haddon.