Former secretary shuffled to Joburg’s ombud

 

Former secretary of Council, Advocate Benito Lekalakala, has been removed from Council and appointed the acting ombudsman of the City of Johannesburg.

This comes after the former ombudsman, Advocate S’duduzo Gumede, and a group executive director for Group Corporate and Shared Services were both suspended pending a full investigation after an alleged tip-off.

The City’s Johannesburg’s Office of the Ombudsman has confirmed that Lekalakala has been appointed the acting ombudsman effective from 11 May.

The former secretary’s removal was questioned in previous Council meetings by the African National Congress. The party’s Joburg spokesperson Jolidee Matongo said his move was apparently due to ‘a breakdown in relations between him and the legislature’.

Matongo said that Lekalakala was still in negotiations with the City about his exit as secretary. “We don’t approve of Council starting the process of appointing a new secretary if the negotiations are not finalised,” he added.

Tony Taverna-Turisan, director of communication’s in the mayor’s office, said that he could not provide any further details regarding these moves within the City since the decision was taken by Council in a closed sitting. He, however, assured the public that the City would inform them once it was possible to do so.

Reports have also surfaced about another senior official resigning with immediate effect.

“We said in Council that we do not support the witch-hunt against senior managers appointed by the previous ANC administration,” Matongo said.

Asked if this was not an indication that these appointments were political, Matongo disagreed. “The positions were advertised in newspapers and a panel consisting of the City manager, the political head of the department and an independent expert [among others] made the decision. One can’t say it is a political appointment.”

Advocate Ernest Chipu has since been appointed acting secretary to Council.

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Chantelle Fourie

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