DA blasts BCM’s costly suspensions: Daily Dispatch

THE DA in the Eastern Cape legislature wants the cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC Fikile Xasa to get involved in speeding up the resolution of Buffalo City Metro (BCM) suspensions which are costing the taxpayer R1.2-million.

But the MEC says he has already been involved in the process leading to the municipal manager’s suspension, a requirement in terms of the legislation. He would not get involved in operational matters relating to employee suspensions, however.

The Daily Dispatch reported last month that 10 BCM employees serving suspension notices were sitting at home since last year while getting paid their salaries.

DA member of the provincial legislature (MPL) and provincial chairwoman Veliswa Mvenya asked Xasa at the provincial legislature whether he was aware of the pending cases against BCM employees.

In his response, Xasa said he had not been informed of the suspensions of staff.

He said legislation did not require that he be informed if the cases related to the suspension of staff at the operational level and he had only learned in the print media about the suspensions.

However, Xasa said legislation required that he be informed of the suspension of a municipal manager and to concur or not with the move to suspend.

Xasa did not say in his reply to Mvenya whether he was informed or not about BCM municipal manager Andile Fani’s suspension.

But Cogta provincial spokesman Mamnkeli Ngam confirmed yesterday that Xasa was informed of Fani suspension.

“The MEC was made aware by the BCM leadership on Mr Fani’s suspension. Accordingly the MEC provided the necessary guidance and advice on who should act.”

Nceba Ncunyana has acting in Fani’s position.

Ngam said Fani’s disciplinary process was an internal BCM matter.

Mvenya said the investigation into these cases must be conducted and completed as soon as possible.

She said the hard-earned money of taxpayers was being wasted on employees who are absent due to suspension. “Acting allowances are also being paid to municipal employees who are performing the duties of those who are suspended,” she said.

Mvenya said the money could have been allocated towards building houses and repairing roads around the Eastern Cape.

Attempts were made to get a comment from BCM mayor Alfred Mtsi’s spokesman Sibusiso Cindi, but a response had not been received at the time of writing. — msindisif@dispatch.co.za