Johannesburg – A North West mayor is in hot water after she allegedly swore at employees and said their “parents’ private parts were itchy and needed to be scratched”.
Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality has been requested to institute an investigation against Mayor Nikiwe Num for allegedly insulting two senior managers during a staff meeting. The meeting was held on July 27 when the municipality and labour unions discussed a shortage of staff, as well as delays in filling vacant and advertised positions.
According to sources who were in attendance, the hurling of insults came after Num requested a caucus briefing with the members of the mayoral committee (MMCs) to arrange their responses to the issues.
The managers who were insulted are former acting municipal manager Seshego Abrams and senior manager of community services, Abe Metswamere.
“It was during this brief period that she (Num) swore at the two senior managers,” said the source.
The sources said Num told the MMCs that Abrams and Metswamere were full of sh** and that “they think they know it all”. The sources said community services MMC Wendy Makgathe and finance MMC Rose Thabanchu intervened and reprimanded Num for using profane language.
Num refused to take advice from her colleagues and said Abrams and Metswamere were full of sh**. She said the two thought they knew everything and they were making the working environment unbearable for all municipal employees. Num continued: “Actually, I think that their mothers’ vaginas are itching and need their fathers’ penises to scratch them.”
The sources said Makgathe cautioned Num, indicating she could not use an official platform to behave in that manner, but the mayor said she did not care and that Makgathe could take it whichever way she wanted.
“The adjournment was concluded, and the mayor ascended to the podium to respond to the issues raised. Before she started talking, she looked at her team and said, ‘should I continue swearing, as I’ve been swearing in our brief caucus, to which Makgathe responded in the negative’.”
The sources said Num told the employees that she was angry at some people and she could continue to swear. Another source close to the situation said Num wanted to overrule the managers and interfered against all professional advice in recruitment processes.
“The foundational issue is that the mayor wanted a flexible moratorium on staff hiring but certain departments have serious staff shortages. She tends to want to overrule the managers and interfere against all professional advice,” said a source.
In a letter issued on September 12, 2022, the two senior managers said the outburst was vitriolic and an attack on them, and their living and departed parents’ dignity. They said Num’s bitterness and anger played out before the incident when they were acting as municipal managers and reporting directly to her.
“Mr Metswareme was harassed and threatened by the mayor when he refused some of the unlawful instructions from her. This led to him withdrawing from running the position of municipal manager due to threats made by the mayor, that she is going to appoint him, harass him, and make his working environment unbearable so that she can fire him within six months,” read the letter.
Abrams, who took over from Metswareme, said she also suffered the same abuse until she decided to resign from the position with immediate effect.
Dr Kenneth Kaunda spokesperson Xolani Mndaweni confirmed that the municipality was probing the matter. He said the investigations were led by independent attorneys and were at an advanced stage.
Cogta spokesperson in North West, Dineo Thapelo, said her department could not comment because it did not receive the letter. North West ANC secretary Louis Diremelo refused to comment, saying the matter was under investigation.