Suspended Newcastle municipal manager Errol Mswane declined to comment on the actual content of the report because of its sensitive nature and the fact that it hasn’t been tabled before the council.
However, he recalled having been told to resign following a meeting he had with a senior ANC political office bearer, where he discussed his frustration about being stopped from tabling the report in council, he told Newscastle Advertiser in part eight of their investigation.
This is also detailed in his Labour Court affidavits, where he is applying for an independent arbitrator to chair his disciplinary inquiry.
“In October, I was summoned by the ANC officials in the region, where the then mayor, speaker, and the chief whip were also in attendance, and was asked to resign because of the two articles that appeared in the Newcastle Advertiser detailing the financial crisis of the municipality and how I intended to turn the situation around. I was further told that it was wrong for me to have met the ANC official in the province without their knowledge.
“I refused to resign because I thought it wasn’t the right thing to do. I knew they were going to drum up charges against me after they warned that things would be found against me if I did not opt for a resignation. One of the councillors actually told me before allegations were submitted, that he was put under pressure to do so,” said Mswane.
Court documents pertaining to Mswane’s disciplinary matter mention that he has entered the forensic report in terms of the Protected Disclosures Act, an act
that protects employees who expose serious wrongdoing in the workplace.
Mswane explained that he was reluctant to speak out after a previous statement attributed to him in the media, as well as the affidavit he submitted to court, was being raised in his disciplinary. He is concerned about the fairness of his disciplinary.
“All I want at this stage is a fair hearing presided by an independent arbitrator,” he concluded.
The Newcastle Municipality has opposed Mswane’s application for an independent arbitrator.