Mr Godfrey Raliphada, who stands at the centre of the controversy. Photo supplied.
In yet another twist in the saga to appoint a new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in the Makhado Municipality, the former acting CFO, Mr Godfrey Raliphada, was reinstated in this post for a period of three months. The decision to appoint him in this capacity was supported by a faction within the ANC that seemingly ignored the instructions from, among others, the ANC’s Chief Whip, to boycott Thursday’s meeting.
A special council meeting was scheduled for Thursday afternoon to discuss the court interdict obtained by Raliphada on 19 September in the Polokwane High Court. The court ordered the municipality to immediately stop with the process of appointing a new CFO. It also orders the parties to file documentation, including the necessary replying affidavits, before certain dates.
Thursday’s meeting was also called because it was necessary for Council to appoint an acting CFO, as Raliphada was removed from this position shortly after he had filed court papers. He was placed on special leave, but later allowed to return to work, but not as acting CFO.
Raliphada approached the court and asked it to intervene after the Makhado Council opted not to appoint him as CFO. He was the candidate that scored the highest in the evaluations, and he was also the candidate recommended by the selection panel. The ANC’s Political Management Team (PMT), however, had other plans and opted to redeploy the Vhembe District Municipality’s CFO, Ms Mulatwa Thangavhuelelo, to this position. The VDM is one of the municipalities in Limpopo with the worst financial track records.
This decision of the ANC’s top management was, right from the start, not supported by a faction of ANC councillors. It was also vehemently opposed by the opposition parties and the main labour unions in the municipality.
Thursday’s Council meeting started off in a chaotic manner. It was clear that there was an instruction that ANC members should not attend the meeting and, by doing so, prevent a quorum from taking any decisions. Members of opposition parties complained that the Chief Whip, Cllr RS Baloyi, was spotted trying to prevent councillors from entering the building.
From information obtained, it seems as if the initial proposal was to appoint Mrs P Mudau, who is the municipality’s Supply Chain Manager, as acting CFO. In the absence of several of the ANC councillors, a proposal was tabled that Godfrey Raliphada be appointed for another period of three months.
The councillors present at the meeting constituted a quorum and put the matter to a vote. It was subsequently decided to appoint Raliphada while the case continues in court. The parties will have to be back in court on 1 December when the judge will have to decide on whether the interdict be lifted or made permanent.
Questions were sent to the municipality’s spokesperson, Mr Louis Bobodi, asking him to confirm that Raliphada was again appointed. He was also asked whether the appointment of Ms Thangavhuelelo, who was supposed to start working as CFO on 1 October, was put on hold. Bobodi didn’t respond to the questions.
Date:29 September 2023
Anton van Zyl has been with the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror since 1990. He graduated from the Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg) and obtained a BA Communications degree. He is a founder member of the Association of Independent Publishers.