10 April 2020
The Plettenberg Bay Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association has, in its capacity as amicus curiae (friend of the court), today filed its Heads of Argument in the matter of Department of Local Government MEC Bredell vs Bitou Municipality, relating to the unlawful appointment of Lonwabo Ngoqo as Bitou Municipal Manager.
In addition, the Plett Ratepayers’ have applied to court to be joined as a litigant in the event the court should decide, on a technicality, that MEC Bredell does not have the necessary locus standi. That will allow the Ratepayers to step into the breach to allow the court to still hear the merits of the case.
Ngoqo was dismissed as Municipal Manager at Bitou Municipality in February 2012 for serious financial misconduct, which subjects him to a ten-year ban from being employed by any municipality. Bitou unlawfully re-employed him on 21 February 2019.
In the Heads of Argument, the Ratepayers’ Association, quoting Judge Combrinck, described Ngoqo’s conduct in the following terms: “For a high-ranking official to have been found to have not acted with fidelity, honesty, integrity and in the best interests of the Municipality, and then to have given perjured evidence is a very serious matter.” The Ratepayers contend that Ngoqo should not be trusted with the affairs, especially the financial affairs, of the Municipality.
The Ratepayers’ Association also has documentation that Ngoqo took employment as municipal manager at Sunday’s River in the Eastern Cape while still challenging his dismissal at Bitou.
The Plett Ratepayers’ are hoping for a court date in August.