Municipality staff allegedly storm office, take off with pay-slip printer

Two employees at the troubled Ngwathe Municipality in the Free State are accused of storming the payroll unit office and taking the municipal computer and pay-slip printer.

It is alleged that the pair stole the municipality property in the presence of the payroll staff members. The incident is detailed in an e-mail complaint written by one of the officials.

Incident detailed in e-mail

This is according to a message the budget and expenditure manager, Themba Mpindo, e-mailed to management. The email was sent to acting municipal manager, Teboho Manele, and chief financial officer,  Keneuwe Lepesa.

Mpindo alleged that the two, whose names are known to Sunday World, were accompanied by the municipality’s security guards when they did all this. After unplugging the computer and printer, they left with the municipal property.

Implicated officials affiliated to Samwu

The two implicated municipal officials are affiliated with the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu).

In the e-mail, Mpindo said: “Kindly be advised that this morning the payroll unit was ambushed and the computer and pay-slips printer were stolen.

“The ordeal happened this morning in the presence of the payroll unit staff, and the perpetrators were accompanied by the security of the municipality in uniform.

“I have earlier in my series of e-mails cautioned your office that Samwu wants to co-manage the municipality with your office. And you took it light. Today’s activity bears evidence and confirms … that Ngwathe Local Municipality doesn’t have leadership. Nor [does it have] management. It remains a lawlessness centre, where John, Dick and Harry do as they please.”

Culture of not holding officials to account

Mpindo raised concern that the officials’ misconduct would not be taken seriously. He claimed they would continue to insult, threaten, and assault municipal staff. They will target staff members who did not agree with their alleged wayward behaviour.

“The Samwu of Ngwathe [Municipality] has equal rights and responsibilities as the accounting officer,” said Mpindo in his e-mail.

“It is expected of your office to act with immediate effect on this situation. The finance department and other departments feel that enough is enough. [They can’t continue] to be bullied by these individuals masquerading as Samwu.

Staff wants action taken against implicated officials’ “bullying”

“And as such, they will revert to work when you have done what is necessary within the prescripts of the law.

“The office of the accounting officer has a right to even open a case. The case is that of inciting violence within work environment, intimidation, verbal assaults, etc.” 

Mpindo is the same official who was previously assaulted by Samwu members. This when he went to his workplace after he was barred from gaining entry into the premises.

Municipality tightlipped on the matter

Sunday World sent questions to the municipality’s spokesperson Steven Naale. The questions were also sent to mayor Victoria De Beer-Mthombeni and Manele. They all failed to respond despite reading them.

Samwu Free State provincial secretary Tiisetso Mahlatsi also did not respond. This while Sunday World has seen that he read our questions.

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