THE panel appointed to shortlist candidates for the Nelson Mandela Bay municipal manager’s position will meet today after ANC representatives on the panel failed to turn up at the scheduled meeting on Monday. Eastern Cape Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs superintendent-general Stanley Khanyile expressed his disappointment at the failure to continue with the shortlisting at a portfolio committee meeting in Bhisho on Tuesday.

“People from the ANC were just not there, other than the metro’s deputy mayor Nancy Sihlwayi,” Khanyile said.

The panel consists of South African Local Government Association chief executive Xolile George, who is deputy director-general of the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) national office, Khanyile, councillors Chippa Ngcolomba, Nomamerika Magopheni, Balu Naran and Andile Mfunda, with Sihlwayi as the convener of the panel.

“None of the representatives from the ANC was present and we just could not proceed,” he said.

Khanyile told the committee the postponement derailed his department’s plan to make sure the metro had a permanent head.

“However, we are still on track. According to our process plan we want to have conducted interviews and made an appointment by December 15. We will now wait for the metro to give us another date,” Khanyile said.

He called on the committee to assist politically in the process. “We will not be able to do any groundwork without political support. We need this committee’s support even more now,” he pleaded.

ANC regional chairman Nceba Faku confirmed the shortlisting had been postponed. “The mayor is part of the process of employing the municipal manager. I received a report on Monday’s meeting but cannot comment on it,” Faku said.

The municipal manager’s post has been vacant since 2009. In May, the process was stalled by Sihlwayi because there were “political matters that needed to be sorted out first”. Since then, the panel has not met.

Meanwhile, the five-year contracts of economic development executive director Zolile Siswana and chief operations officer Israel Tsatsire expired in August and September. The contracts for acting chief financial officer Selwyn Thys and acting human settlements executive director Kosalin Naicker expired on July 18.

Ngcolomba, however, blamed the metro administration for the postponement.

“All the ANC councillors on the panel were writing exams and only received the notice for the meeting late last week,” Ngcolomba said.

“The manner in which this meeting was organised was not fair to the councillors. Getting a permanent municipal manager is very important to us,” he said.

DA MPL Dacre Haddon said the further delay in non-appointment of a municipal manager in the metro was the result of the weak leadership of mayor Zanoxolo Wayile. “The illegal political meddling by ANC party bosses in the metro has resulted in a three-year delay in appointing a permanent municipal manager.

“The mayor is also acting illegally by kowtowing to ANC party bosses’ wishes in contravention of the Amended Municipal Systems Act which forbids political interference in the appointment of a municipal manager,” Haddon said. He said the action by the ANC in the region was a serious indictment on the rule of law and political stability in the metro.

“It is clear that self-enrichment and narrow interests from Florence Matomela House trump the public good of governance for all citizens,” he said.

Local Government MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane said the appointment of a municipal manger was the responsibility of the metro.

“Our role is to support the metro in recruiting a suitable candidate. We will never tire of helping the metro. Working with CoGTA, Salga and the Treasury, we remain committed to ensuring the metro regains its strength.

“What the ANC wants is for the metro to deliver good services to the people to help them build better communities.

“Anything contrary to that is not acceptable,” Qoboshiyane said. He said the panel would meet again today.