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Acting CFO of the Makhado Municipality Godfrey Raliphada will have to wait until January to hear the judgment of the High Court. Photo: Kaizer Nengovhela.

High Court reserves judgement in CFO case

Date: 07 December 2023 By: Kaizer Nengovhela

The Makhado Municipality will not have a permanent chief financial officer (CFO) this year. The appointment will have to wait until next year, when the Limpopo High Court’s Polokwane division is expected to make a ruling in the case between the municipality and its acting CFO, Godfrey Raliphada.

In September this year, Raliphada approached the court and asked it to intervene after the Makhado Council had 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.

Shortly after Raliphada had filed the court papers, he was removed from this position. He was placed on special leave but later allowed to return to work, but not as acting CFO.

On 19 September, the court ordered the municipality to stop the process of appointing a new CFO immediately. It also ordered the parties to file documentation, including the necessary replying affidavits, before certain dates. The return date for the interdict was set at 1 December.

During a rather chaotic council meeting on 21 September, Raliphada was reinstated as acting CFO 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 the council meeting.

The case was heard in the High Court in Polokwane on Friday (1st), but no ruling was made. Instead, the parties will have to wait until January to know where to go from here.

The secretary of the local branch of the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU), Mr Tsanwani Raduvha, said that they were satisfied with the presentation made by senior council advocate Jaco Le Roux. “We believe the judge will consider all the facts before him and we believe in the justice system of our country,” he said. He added that the status quo would remain as per the judge’s instruction. This means that Raliphada will continue acting as CFO for the interim period.

“We have seen that the strategy of the lawyers of the municipality is to take this case to the labour court, because they can see they are losing this case. They are now raising issues of jurisdiction, which is surprising, but for us also a sign of defeat,” said Raduvha.

Mr Mpho Mulaudzi, the chairperson of the local IMATU branch, was also confident that strong arguments had been raised by Raliphada’s legal team.

 

 
 
 

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Kaizer Nengovhela

Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror in 2000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.

 
 

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