THE Makana Municipality has forced municipal manager Ntombi Baart to go on leave for seven days, just hours after she returned to the job following the lifting of her suspension last week.
The municipality lifted Baart’s suspension after her lawyers filed an urgent application in the Labour Court to have it revoked.
The municipality’s lawyers wrote a letter to Baart’s lawyers on Wednesday afternoon informing her of the decision. Baart confirmed receiving the letter.
However, after returning to work on Friday morning, Baart was served with a letter by mayor Zamuxolo Peter informing her she must go on an additional seven days’ paid leave.
Peter also gave Baart a letter asking her to give reasons why she should keep her job – a move similar to what council chief whip Vuyani Kolisi did in April when he asked Baart to make a written submission.
Baart refused to comment and Peter said he would comment at a later stage.
"We are still dealing with it internally. We will comment at the right time,” he said.
The council’s charges against Baart include the negative audit opinion given to the municipality by the auditor-general during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 financial years, and the municipality’s failure to send accounts to ratepayers earlier this year.
In a letter to Baart’s lawyers, Makana’s attorneys wrote that the decision to lift her suspension should not be "construed as an admission that the application brought by your client is legally founded or in any way urgent”.
"In this regard, as early as the 16th May 2012, she had placed on record, in detail, the reasons for an alleged unlawful and unfair suspension.
"Our client’s position in this regard was made clear the following day.
"Your client has now approached court, under the guise of an urgent interdict application coupled with a review application. This course of action is both inappropriate and not urgent, more so, as at date of hearing she has an effective two working days remaining on her suspension.”
Meanwhile, the municipality is still without a permanent chief financial officer.
The job is currently being carried out by an employee whose highest academic qualification is a diploma in real estate.