Connect with us


Public Protector orders Free State municipality to say sorry to ex-employee



Staff Reporter

A Free State municipality has been ordered to apologise to a former employee for the prejudice he suffered after it failed to register him as a member of a provident fund.

The Public Protector issued the directive to the Masilonyana Local Municipality – which runs Brandfort and other surrounding towns – following an investigation into allegations of improper conduct and maladministration by the local government authority.

The probe relates to a complaint lodged by Israel Mogoaladi, who was employed as a driver by the council as a driver/messenger in the office of the municipal manager with effect from July 1, 2014.

He retired on September 30, 2018.

On January 6, 2020, Mogoaladi asked the Public Protector to investigate the municipality which he accused of failure to register him as a member of a provident fund and pay all contributions due on his behalf between July 31, 2014, and March 31, 2016.

He also alleged that upon retirement the municipality had failed to pay him in lieu of the 57 leave days that he claimed to have accumulated during his employment.

Having considered the evidence and information obtained during the investigation, the Public Protector found the municipality’s failure to register Mogoaladi on the provident fund was improper and constituted maladministration.

“The complainant suffered prejudice in that he forfeited provident fund benefits between 31 July 2014 and 31 March 2016, including September 2018,” Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane said in her report on the matter that was released on February 28, 2022.

The outstanding pension benefits, amounting to R34 959.61, have since been paid by the municipality and the complainant has also acknowledged receipt of the said benefits.

However, the Public Protector dismissed the leave days claim saying the complainant had failed to substantiate the allegation.

“The evidence presented . . . revealed that the complainant did not have

accumulated leave days as at 31 September 2018 when he retired,” Mkhwebane said.

“The complainant could not produce any evidence or refute the evidence submitted by the municipality.”

She however noted that the investigation had further revealed that the municipality did not have a policy to regulate its employees’ leave.

“The conduct of the municipality for failing to develop a leave policy constitutes improper conduct in state affairs  . . .”

As a result, the Public Protector prescribed remedial action, including an order that the municipality should “within 30 working days from the date of the report provide the complainant with an apology in writing for the prejudice that he suffered a as result of the failure on the part of the municipality to register him on a provident fund when he was employed by the municipality”.

The acting municipal manager of the Masilonyana Local Municipality was also ordered, within 60 working days from the date of the report, to initiate a process for the development of a municipal leave policy.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Parts of Free State may not have power for up to three weeks



PROLONGED BLACKOUT LOOMS . . . Eskom says consumers in some parts of the Free State may not have electricity for up to three weeks

Eskom has warned consumers in the south-eastern Free State that they may not have electricity for up to three weeks due to voltage constraints on the network feeding the Melkspruit Substation.

The power failure resulted in electricity users in Zastron, Rouxville and Smithfield as well as those fed directly by Eskom on the RVZ and RVS 22 kV lines experiencing outages over the past weekend.

Eskom’s spokesperson in the Free State, Stefanie Jansen van Rensburg, said the problem may persist until major work on a line from the Northern Cape is completed.

“The voltage constraint on the network will persist until construction of structures on the Ruigtevallei-Valleydora 132 kV line in the Northern Cape is completed,” said Van Rensburg as she urged consumers to remain patient while the supply challenge is addressed.

“Free State teams are currently assisting to speed up the process. It is however expected that work will take two to three weeks to complete.”

“In the meantime, electricity users are urged to use electricity sparingly, especially during the morning and evening peak hours, to prevent trips,” she added.

South Africa has been experiencing rolling blackouts in recent weeks due to what Eskom has described a “continued shortage of generation capacity”.

On Sunday, the national power utility said in a separate statement it had about 3 028 megawatts on planned maintenance, while another 14 992 megawatts of capacity were unavailable due to breakdowns.

While the loadshedding is meant to ease pressure on the national grid and avoid a total collapse of the system, the practice has reportedly caused damage on some lines when power is switched back on.

Eskom has always said loadshedding is implemented only as a last resort to protect the national grid and promised to limit the implementation of loadshedding to the evening peak in order to limit the impact of the capacity shortages on the public. – Staff Reporter

Continue Reading


Minister shuts down troubled Free State water supplier



MOVE GAZETTED . . . Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu has disestablished Sedibeng Water

Staff and key assets from the embattled Sedibeng Water Board are set to be transferred to the Bloemwater and Magalies water boards following the gazetting of the move by Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu last week.

The department’s spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau, said in a statement the development is in line with the minister’s commitment to review the country’s water boards to enable them to perform optimally while enhancing the delivery of water to municipalities and ultimately to households.

The decision to disestablish Sedibeng Water – which served Matjhabeng, Masilonyana and Nala local municipalities, among others – means its staff, assets and liabilities will be absorbed by Bloemwater in the Free State and Magalies in Gauteng.

The move, according to Ratau, was initiated by the minister following his working sessions with provincial governments, various water services authorities and water boards regarding issues of governance, financial viability as well as accountability and broader service delivery issues after taking office in August last year.

“The review is based on considerations of financial sustainability, servicing areas that are not currently serviced and is also intended to address institutional confusion caused by having multiple water boards serving the same area,” said Ratau.

“The disestablishment of Sedibeng Water is in accordance with section 28 of the Water Services Act of 1997 which affords Minister Mchunu the authority to disestablish a water board.

“The gazette was published on Friday, 20 May 2022 and will remain open to the public for a period of 40 days.

“Members of the public and all interested parties are invited to make comments in writing on the disestablishment of the board.”

The department said it will ensure there is smooth transition of the disestablishment and that water service provision to communities is not affected.

Based in Bothaville, Sedibeng Water was established to, among others, treat wastewater and supply potable water in a viabile and sustainable manner.

However, in recent years, some of the municipalities served by the water board have struggled over the years to pay on time for the bulk water supplies even though residents have argued that they pay their monthly bills on time.

At the end of March this year, Sedibeng reportedly owed its service providers over R5-billion as it was struggling to secure payment from several municipalities. – Staff Reporter

Continue Reading


Mangaung warns residents to brace for heavy rainfall



DISRUPTIVE DOWNPOUR LOOMING . . . Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality has warned heavy rainfall is expected to pound the capital

The Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality has warned residents in and around the Free State capital to brace for heavy rainfall that could cause flooding this Friday.

The municipality is urging drivers to take extra caution by reducing speed and switching their headlights on, while pedestrians are being reminded to be careful when crossing the road and to avoid crossing rivers and streams where water is above the ankles.

“Residents of Mangaung Metro, particularly in the former Naledi region, are urged to be cautious on the road and in their homes as the South African Weather Service has issued an impact-based warning . . . for possible disruptive rainfall,” the metro said in a statement.

“This warning is valid for Friday, 20 May 2022 until Saturday, 21 May 2022.”

“Heavy rains are also predicted in Bloemfontein on Friday,” it added.

“Localised flooding can be expected in susceptible low-lying areas, roads, formal/informal settlements and bridges.” – Staff Reporter

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2022. The Free Stater. All Rights Reserved