The chief executive of the northern town has revealed an appalling state of affairs at the municipality.
18 September 2020 | Government
Grootfontein CEO Sisco Sinvula has written a five-page press statement in which he exposes what he describes as “total disarray” and an appalling state of affairs at the municipality.
He claims there is a clique of staff and council members who are systematically plundering the council's limited resources.
In the statement dated 15 September, Sinvula makes strong allegations against some staff and councillors, whom he accuses of not adhering to the Local Authority Act.
Sinvula also reveals a “standoff” between him and the Grootfontein mayor, Absai Haimene.
He says the mayor has refused since April to sign a letter in which he requested a ministerial enquiry into allegations of misconduct by two staff members.
“As CEO of the council I have witnessed and discovered that the state of affairs of the municipality was appalling and to put it lightly in a state of total disarray,” Sinvula writes. “This very unfortunate state of affairs directly resulted in the officials at the municipality not implanting mandates of council, which means the provisions of the local authority act were not being adhered to.
“I found the governance architecture of the institution to be compromised as two centres of accounting powers co-existed between the office of the chief executive officer and that of the strategic executive.
“Work ethics among staff members were appalling. I got the impression that employment at the Grootfontein municipality mainly revolved around overtime, which for me seemed to be an entrenched culture and basically a tradition of council employees to milk limited financial resources that should have been strictly invested in the delivery of much needed community services,” Sinvula writes.
Two centres of power
Sinvula says he has made it clear since his appointment in March that he will not tolerate the manner in which the municipality is conducting its affairs.
He says as the ultimate accounting officer he cannot accept two centres of power at the municipality.
“Realising the dangers of the above, I made it clear from the onset that such corporate culture and destructive tradition that compromised the delivery of public services was not going to be condoned and tolerated by myself as accounting officer and that I was never going to accept two centres of accounting powers.
“After all, I as the CEO would always be ultimately responsible and accountable for any action taken at the municipality,” Sinvula explains.
“I want to assure the community of Grootfontein that my office shall never be held hostage in the delivery of public service for the good and the benefit of the citizenry. I am here to execute my mandate to improve the town for the benefit of all and not a selected few.”
Sinvula says when he tried to address issues affecting the local authority, his actions were met with resistance from a clique of staff and some council members.
“I encountered resistance from a clique of staff and some council members which has resulted in internal and social media backlash of late,” Sinvula writes.
“A cohort of some council members and staff have made serious, malicious and false allegations against my person as an accounting officer, which this press statement seeks to rectify…”
No comment could be obtained from Haimene as both his mobile numbers went unanswered and he had not responded to text messages by the time of going to print.