News / South Africa

Gosebo Mathope
4 minute read
12 Mar 2018
5:40 pm

Mashaba administration ‘deliberately starving my family’

Gosebo Mathope

The City says as per processes the former Ombudsman's payments were suspended after he resigned to ensure that no over payment accrues.

Advocate Sduduzo Gumede, the suspended City of Joburg Ombudsman

The long-running battle between former City of Joburg Ombudsman Adv Sduduzo Gumede and his former boss has taken a new twist with Gumede revealing to The Citizen he has not been paid his salary for February.

Gumede previously told the media the primary reason he resigned from his position a few days before the Labour Court ordered the City to reinstate him after setting aside his suspension is because he ran out of money.

When asked if Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba’s office has received Gumede’s letter of resignation, mayoral director of communications Luyanda Mfeka said the “Ombudsman’s resignation was an unilateral act by the party in question” and “Neither the City nor the Mayor’s office influenced that process.”

“Presently, it is the City’s belief that the office of the Ombudsman does not address the needs of our residents. It was intended to be a place where residents, especially those most vulnerable to maladministration, could raise their concerns.

“This has not been achieved by any measure and the work of this office must be reviewed so that our residents derive value from this office. As such, the City is addressing this question through the Institutional Review. Ms Dinkie Dube is the Acting Ombudsman,” said Mfeka.

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Gumede has came out guns blazing and accused Mashaba’s administration of continuing to wage a propaganda war against him in the media even though the two parties had amicable agree to part ways earlier this month.

“I find the City’s response absolutely revolting, to say the least. I was appointed with effect from 01 January 2015. When I got there the Office of the Ombudsman had no budget. My first budget in the City was July 2016. I started hiring staff only then.

“The DA came in in September 2016, Herman Mashaba told me to stop recruiting for the Office and threatened to cut my budget from R61 million to R10 million. I asked him why? He said he could not support my budget. He refused to support my office in any way despite the fact that the bylaw enjoined him to do so and that I reported to him administratively in terms of the bylaw,” said Gumede.

The former Ombudsman said he was “shunned” completely – “In April 2017 he accuses me of all manner of misconduct and suspends me in May 2017. I take him to Court in June 2017 and the Court finds in my favour. Now they are trying to spin this story. I am disgusted by their conduct.”

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Mfeka said the City was “not satisfied” with the legal services provided by Sandile July of Werksmans Attorneys that the City had no legal basis to suspend Gumede and therefore terminated their services for failing “to take into account critical information submitted to the City as part of a final independent forensic report.”

“No city championing clean government could be expected to fold its hands when those responsible for good governance fail to live up to the standards of conduct and ethics that they are meant to demand of the City,” said Mfeka.

“I intend to consult my lawyers about this and will be issuing a statement in due course. I might just tell you that the City has not paid me my February 2018 salary despite my many requests for it to do so. I have a family and children, they depend on this salary. The City is being absolutely mean, this is ridiculous,” Gumede said.

“There has never been a single report by Council where the Office of the Ombudsman was criticized. On the contrary, Council’s Committee on the Legislature (“OCOL”) has nothing but praise for the work of the Office. So, I do not know where this criticism now comes from,” he added.

Mfeka denied that the City is financially choking the former Ombudsman by withholding his salary.

“Adv. Gumede resigned from the City on the 19th of February 2018, after which, per the City’s processes, payments for his salary were suspended. This is done to ensure that no over payment accrues to an individual who has left the employ of the City following their resignation, particularly in instances where one elects to resign with immediate effect.

 “This control measure is designed to protect the City against any losses and/or audit findings with respect to HR processes. This was communicated to the Adv. Gumede. That said, the City has been in constant contact with Adv. Gumede and the office of the Ombudsman in an attempt to bring a swift resolution to the matter,” Mfeka said.

Also read:

Mashaba loses legal battle as Labour Appeals Court reinstates Adv Gumede as Joburg Ombudsman

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