Embattled Grootfointein municipality CEO Kisco Sinvula has dragged the town’s council to court in an attempt to nullify his suspension. This comes after the council, led by mayor Elizabeth Kastoor, passed a motion with allegations of serious misconduct against Sinvula on 24 March.
Sinvula, however, said the special council meeting only had a single subject matter on his suspension and that the suspension was effected immediately after the said meeting regardless of whether the majority of the councillors objected to such a decision. “The councillors that were spearheading my suspension proceeded to appoint the acting CEO without council resolution.
The illegal acting CEO issued instructions to the security company to stop me from entering the office. Currently, my legal team is filing with the court to nullify their illegal suspension decision,” Sinvula reacted.
Kastoor is, however, adamant Sinvula should be suspended to pave way for an investigation. She even wrote to the urban and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni on 30 March 2022, assuring him should Sinvula be cleared of charges against him, she will gladly call for a council meeting to reconsider her decision. Equally, Kastoor informed Uutoni that council is waiting for the legal process to be completed and pronounce itself on Sinvula’s suspension.
“The decision to suspend the chief executive officer will remain valid and in place. Mr Kisco Sinvula will remain on suspension, as per the position of council, we are restoring the glory of our town, and, until council or court processes decide otherwise, the honourable minister can approach the court, should the minister be not in agreement with the decision of the council,” she wrote.
Grootfontein council chairperson Talitha Garises also wrote to Uutoni expressing this is a worrisome situation, as the town’s service delivery is being hindered, because of direct insubordination from Sinvula.
“I am further informing you, honourable minister, that on several occasions, the CEO has been absent from office, without approval, in the name of attending board meetings and thereby neglected the requested council meeting,” Garises charged. In response, Uutoni said the Act requires the council to first inform the minister of its intention to suspend or discharge the CEO and to put out before him evidence in support of its case.
“My prior approval has neither been sought nor granted. As such, I take it that council is merely informing me of its intention to suspend the CEO and has not yet affected the suspension. Furthermore, it is also my expectation that the council is still to consult and seek the minister’s prior approval as required in terms of section 29(1) (I) of the Act,” Uutoni stated.
Therefore, he directed council to comply with the law and if it has acted in violation thereof, to rescind its decision and act in strict compliance with the cited provision of the Act. The objective of the motion was to verify that the allegations against the CEO are either of substance or not. The allegations levelled against him include insubordination; abuse of power; violation of the Local Authority Act of 1992, violations of the Procurement Act, forgery, misrepresentation, negligent trading, violations of the labour law; racketeering and misuse of public funds.
The motion requested the council to resolve that Sinvula be suspended with full salary in terms of Section 29(1)(a), 29(6)(b) of the Local Authority Act (Act No. 23 of 1992 as amended) as well as Rule no. 35 of the Personnel rule of Grootfontein municipality. Council, in the interim, appointed Sarie Hangara as the acting CEO. However, upon the motion, three councillors refuse to support it and one councillor sought ministerial approval before the suspension.
The councillors objecting to the suspension without any investigation to prove the alluded allegations are Victor Shaandjuka, Alfeus Nghikevali and Lovisa Iyambo. They called for the ministerial investigation team to look into the allegations against Sinvula.