Former political advisers ‘not paid’

Pair say they are still awaiting final month’s salary after Bay contracts expire

Two former political advisers, whose job terms expired last month, claim that they have not been paid by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality for their last month in office.

Former adviser in the chief whip’s office Mzukisi Mphahlwa said he had been unable to pay his accounts because he had not been paid on August 31, as was apparently promised by the municipality.

The other former political appointee, Nobuntu Makapela, whose title was political strategist in the deputy mayor’s office, has sent a lawyer’s letter to the municipality in the hope of spurring it on to pay her for her last month’s work.

Three years ago, Makapela was earning about R92 000 a month.

Mphahlwa declined to disclose how much he had earned, only saying it was at a director level.

Directors in the metro earn aboutR1.4-million a year, which equates to more than R100 000 a month.

Both Mphahlwa and Makapela’s contracts expired with the August 3 elections, as they were linked to the five-year political term.

The metro’s acting executive director of corporate services, Vuyo Zitumane, said the only contracts that had been extended from election day to August 31 were purely administrative and protection staff.

“[This was] to ensure that the incoming political incumbents aresupported when they come into office,”Zitumane said.

“This excludes senior positions and non-administrative positions.

“All those positions whose contracts were not extended were terminated on August 4 2016.“The delay in payments in some cases is as a result of clearance certificates which are issued on return of all council assets previously allocated to those incumbents.”

Makapela claims, in a letter from her attorney André Vlok to the municipality, that deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani had hinted that her job was safe.

The letter, sent to the municipality on Monday, states: “We also record that our client was advised by the deputy mayor during the course of last week, and on more than one occasion, that he will be re-applying her to a suitable position in the metro, and that she and her family ‘need not worry’.

“Despite our client’s insistent inquiries in this regard over the last few days, she has to date also not received any meaningful reply.”

Makapela threatened to take the city to court if it did not pay her the money owed.

In 2013, she hauled the city to the Port Elizabeth Labour Court when she was shuttled to another department without any real work to do after Chippa Ngcolomba was appointed deputy mayor.

The court ruled that she be reinstated in her old job.

Bobani denied offering her a job, saying he had encouraged all political staff to apply if there were any job opportunities in the municipality.

“I thanked them for the work done and I said if there are other opportunities, they must apply,” he said.

“There is no way I can say that I will employ her.  She was a deployee of the ANC. If I make a political appointment, it would be a UDM deployee, but it must be someone that is qualified and competent.

“But I do feel sorry for someone who loses their job. In fact, I feel sorry for all the others who have lost their jobs, but unfortunately their contracts have come to an end.”

In his inaugural speech as mayor, Athol Trollip said the new coalition government would clamp down on political appointments.

Bobani said the organogram for political offices would be reviewed.

Mphahlwa said he had been told the pay issue would be resolved by yesterday, but by late afternoon the money had not yet been paid.