Emfuleni municipal manager Lucky Leseane placed under suspension again
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THE embattled Emfuleni Local Municipality in Gauteng has again placed its municipal manager Lucky Leseane on suspension for undisclosed reasons despite the country facing municipal elections within the next two weeks.
Emfuleni Local Municipality’s mayoral spokesperson Lebo Mofokeng on Tuesday dismissed social media reports that Leseane was fired but said they wished to put it on record Leseane was not fired but was actually placed on leave pending a disciplinary hearing against him.
“The Emfuleni Local Council in its sitting held on the July 29 resolved to put Mr Leseane on precautionary suspension pending consideration of an investigation report into allegations of serious misconduct and poor performance,” Mofokeng said.
She, however, did not disclose the contents of the allegations against Leseane saying the report was tabled as confidential.
Mofokeng said the media had to apply to the council Speaker for direct access to the report.
Leseane confirmed he had been placed on precautionary suspension.
“I am co-operating with the municipality’s investigations but I do not believe their investigations have merit against me,” Leseane said.
He said he joined the municipality in March last year and this year his performance was never assessed.
“I do not believe the charges of misconduct and poor performance against me. This year I was never assessed to support a charge of poor performance,” he maintained.
Leseane, however, said he is still waiting for the investigation report but would co-operate if the investigators find anything against him.
“If they find me wanting. I would subject myself to a disciplinary process. But surprisingly, I asked for certain information from the investigators but they could not avail it to me. Adding to the confusion, is that my three months suspension will be due soon,” Leseane said.
Last year in October, Leseane was placed on suspension by the same municipality but the Labour Court in Braamfontein overturned it.
Leseane was removed following a decision of a full council meeting on October 30 but the court ordered his reinstatement on November 10 last year.
The court’s decision followed after Leseane filed an urgent application challenging the decision of the council to place him on suspension without an option of summoning him for a disciplinary hearing.
In his urgent application, Leseane told the court the councillors went ahead with his removal despite a legal opinion about the unlawfulness of their actions. He also said he had not been provided with any reasons as to why he could not perform his duties.
“As clearly demonstrated, the municipality’s councillors are in possession of a legal opinion advising on the unlawfulness of their conduct. The councillors persist with its unlawful conduct despite a legal opinion advising to the contrary.
“I know of no investigation being currently undertaken by the municipality nor do I know of any misconduct I might have committed. The municipality is challenged to produce the evidence of the same,” Leseane argued in his court papers.
He said it was clear the municipality had not followed the peremptory provisions of the regulations on discipline of municipal managers as provided for by the disciplinary code.
“My removal from the municipal council sitting by armed men who do not work for the municipality is an act of harassment and/or intimidation. Put bluntly, their conduct constitutes a criminal offence.
“I have no doubt the ’hooligans’ were hired people,” Leseane argued at the time.