The Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature is “too busy” to want to debate the continued illegal appointment of Temba Hani Acting Municipal Manager of Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.

In a statement to the media last week I proposed that I would seek a special debate in the Legislature this week on the matter. In terms of the Rules of Order of the Legislature I requested the Speaker in writing on Monday, 22 July 2012, to consider this matter for debate.

This morning the Chief Whip of the Legislature suggested I pose a motion to the Legislature this afternoon for debate at a later date.

On behalf of the Democratic Alliance I will table a motion in this regard, but as the rules of the Legislature stipulate, a motion can be debated after 10 sitting days. This means it could be weeks before the matter is debated.

By then it is likely that a permanent Municipal Manager would have been appointed in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.

The current appointment of Mr Hani as Acting Municipal Manager of the Mandela Metro is illegal for the following reasons:

1) At a council meeting in March this year the Executive Mayor of the Metro used delegated powers to re-appoint Mr Hani for a third term acting stint, contrary to the provisions of section 54 A (1) (b) which states that acouncil must appoint such a manager.

2) The resolution stated that Mr Hani’s appointment be valid until the 18 July 2012 or the appointment of a permanent Municipal Manager which ever occurred first.

As no permanent appointment has been made in this regard, the 18 July-deadline then applies.

As Mr Hani is still in his position this poses serious legal consequences for the Metro:

Firstly, any decision made by Mr Hani will have no effect in law due to his current employment status.

Furthermore, the payment of a salary package and perks to Mr Hani will be irregular and fruitless expenditure as technically he should not be in the employ of the Metro since 18 July 2012.

In view of the tardiness by the Speaker not to allow this urgent debate, I will be referring this matter to my DA-colleague in parliament who deals with Local Government, John Steenhuisen, as well as the National Minister.

Section 54A (9) of the Municipal Systems Act states that:

“Where an MEC for local government fails to take appropriate steps referred to in subsection (8), the Minister may take the steps contemplated in that section”.

It is serious and disappointing that the Provincial Legislature fails to note and act swiftly to avoid a managerial crisis in the Mandela Metro.