NELSON Mandela Bay acting municipal manager Themba Hani’s contract expires today, but he will continue in the post until the next council meeting.
Mayor Zanoxolo Wayile’s spokesman, Luncedo Njezula, said yesterday: "By law, there can be no vacuum, therefore the acting municipal manager will continue until the next council meeting sits.”
However, authorities were unable to confirm yesterday whether Hani’s contract would be extended.
The municipal manager post has been vacant since 2009.
Local Government MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane said yesterday he was waiting for the municipality to inform him that Hani’s contract had lapsed.
He said council had been aware of the situation a long time ago.
"The council has to be advised that a council without a municipal manager and chief financial officer, and executive director vacancies poses a serious threat to the stability of the municipality.
"I urge and appeal to the leaders of the metro to be merciful to ... citizens and try to elevate themselves and think of the people and ratepayers.
"It is the council that must be seized with executive powers to extend, contract or appoint a municipal manager; my duty is to monitor compliance,” Qoboshiyane said.
But the problem facing the metro is that there are no council meetings scheduled for this week.
Qoboshiyane’s spokesman, Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha, said: "The MEC is going to have a [telephonic] conversation with the mayor to discuss this matter and make a decision on a way forward.
"From [today] we will know what will happen in the short term and the long term.
"The matter must be ratified by council, so they can call for an emergency council meeting to take a decision.”
Last week, councillors were supposed to discuss the municipal manager post, but the council meeting was postponed after only five ANC councillors were in attendance.
The majority of ANC councillors snubbed the meeting after regional secretary Zandisile Qupe had instructed that it be postponed.
Hani was supposed to lend administrative support to the municipality for no longer than three months – until the process of appointing a permanent municipal manager was completed – but due to a high court bid by one of the candidates for the post, Sithembele Vatala, he was requested to stay on.
Vatala claimed the recruitment process had been flawed.
The second attempt to fill the post – Wayile initially promised it would be filled by April – was delayed by stalled attempts to set up a multiparty interview panel.