Appointments ‘must be set aside’

THE DA has taken the Kouga Municipality to court over the alleged unlawful appointment of five new directors.

 Carleen Arends (local economic development and tourism), Carlien Burger (chief financial officer), Thobeka Tom (human resource development), Victor Felton (infrastructure, planning and development) and Japie Jansen (social services director) took up their posts on August 1.

In court papers filed in the Port Elizabeth High Court, the DA asked that the appointments be set aside due to the process being unlawful and procedurally incorrect.

They also called for process to be restarted.

In a statement issued by DA, member of Parliament, Elza van Lingen, she said:

“The mayor and his mayoral committee, in their eagerness to deploy their cadres, held a mayoral committee meeting on June 11 at which it was decided to appoint the five directors, thereby flouting the law. Phone calls were made to the applicants to confirm their appointments on the same day.

“A full council approved the unlawful appointments with a majority vote in spite of a four-hour debate in which the DA councillors pointed out the unlawfulness of their action. Kouga Municipality is now blaming MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane for failing in his duties to stop the unlawful appointments.

Kouga Municipal Manager Sidney Fadi said:

“The municipality will oppose their [DA] claims. The basis of our defence has already been lodged in our founding affidavit.

“Since the matter is now before the court, we believe it to be inappropriate for stakeholders to try and score political points by making media statements intended to provoke the municipality into responding to unfounded allegations. If the DA has faith in the judicial system, and the merits of their case, they would not need to use the media to fish for information.”

Fadi vehemently rejected the claim that they blamed Qoboshiyane for any alleged wrongdoing, and that the new appointee’s were deployed cadres.

“Kouga does not, and has never had, any reason to blame the MEC for anything. We have always been very satisfied with the manner in which he deals with conflicts and challenges at local government level. We are confident that we will also not be disappointed with his handling of this matter.

“As legal proceedings are under way, we consider all further information relating to the case to be sub judice and will respond further when asked to do so by the court, which would be the appropriate platform at this stage,” Fadi said.

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