Suspended municipal officials back at their desks

Michael Kimberley

NELSON Mandela Bay chief internal auditor Bonnie Chan and corporate human resources services director Roslyn van Greunen returned to work yesterday after their suspensions were lifted.

They were suspended almost two weeks ago by former acting municipal manager Themba Hani.

The DA tabled a motion calling for Hani’s removal two weeks ago, saying he was hell- bent on suspending senior municipal officials, which instilled fear in staff.

The municipality’s chief operating officer, Israel Tsatsire, lifted the suspensions on Friday.

Hani suspended the auditor over a pay parity dispute with the municipality.

Chan is one of the 70 directors and assistant directors that were mistakenly overpaid a total of more than R40-million when the pay parity scheme was implemented.

The remaining officials have not been charged for benefiting from the scheme.

During a council meeting in September it was said Chan’s ability to investigate fraud in the institution had been tainted because she was one of the overpaid managers.

But the municipality has been barred by the Port Elizabeth Labour Court from docking the salaries of the senior managers.

Van Greunen was accused of being allegedly negligent in executing her duties.

While Chan confirmed she was back at work yesterday, she declined to comment further.

Van Greunen said: “I am relieved the suspension has been lifted.” Chan and Van Greunen’s attorney, Grant Howard, said: “The acting municipal manager sent to the Bay by the province did nothing but cause havoc during his reign.

“Hani suspended people left, right and centre when he arrived. In the case of Chan and Van Greunen it was unfair and grossly inappropriate,” he said.

Howard said the charges against Van Greunen were trumped up.

“The accusations where hugely outdated and for something she was only marginally involved in. The negligence of duties was for something that did not even fall under her responsibility,” he said.

Municipal spokeswoman Marthie Nel failed to comment.

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