Judge slams cheeky appeal - Times LIVE
   
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Tue Feb 28 05:18:26 SAST 2017

Judge slams cheeky appeal

ARON HYMAN | 2017-02-17 06:55:33.0

Image by: Carlos Jasso

A man who chalked up the first convictions under the Municipal Finance Management Act has boggled a judge's mind.

Labour Court judge Edwin Tlhotlhalemaje said Martin Pietersen's attempt to prevent an Eastern Cape municipality suspending him was a product of "self-righteous and narcissistic instincts".

Tlhotlhalemaje added: "The nature of this (application) is mind-boggling. Whether that appeal process takes a lifetime or not is irrelevant as far as (Pietersen) is concerned, as his 'right' to the position and the salary trumps everything else, including the clean, smooth administration of the municipality."

Pietersen said he would challenge Tlhotlhalemaje's denial of his application and was confident he would come out on top.

"I know what I've done and how I've done it. But I don't take it lightly when my reputation is violated," said Pietersen.

"Municipal managers are in the firing line because there is a perception that there is corruption in the municipalities. I'm not saying that there is not corruption, but you shouldn't generalise."

Pietersen also maintained he was not found guilty of corruption or fraud, and said he would "prove" to the court that he was not guilty.

Pietersen was appointed as municipal manager in September 2015 after the Camdeboo municipality, where he was manager, merged with two others to form the new Dr Beyers Naude municipality.

In December 2015, he was found guilty by the Oudts-hoorn Magistrate's Court on five charges relating to the abuse of R2-million under the Municipal Finance Management Act.

Pietersen is on suspension with a full salary.

Sentencing is expected next month.

Tlhotlhalemaje said it was "remarkable" that Pietersen had managed to be instated as the municipal manager of the newly formed municipality.

"Despite being plagued by a plethora of criminal charges and other allegations of misconduct, remarkably (he) managed to be appointed as a municipal manager in three different local municipalities," the said in his judgment in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Tlhotlhalemaje expressed the court's feelings towards "well-heeled civil servants" trying to use the court to "intervene in internal disciplinary proceedings against them".

He said: "It is apparent that in most of these cases the intention of the applicants is merely to circumvent the dispute resolution procedures ... or to seek reinstatement in their positions, even when their presence in the workplace had turned out or proved to be untenable."

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