Service delivery in the Blue Crane Route Municipality (BCRM) has ground to a halt because the ANC wants to have a cadre appointed as municipal manager instead of the best man for the job.

The municipality has been without a municipal manager for eight months, and two of its only four directorate posts are vacant.

The ANC’s top structures wants Thandekile Mnyiba hired, whose appointment as municipal manager of Oudshoorn was declared null and void by the Western Cape High Court last year because he was not qualified for the job. The court found that he was appointed despite being judged the least suitable of the five candidates who were shortlisted and interviewed for the position.

I have today written to the MEC for Local Government, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, and sent a copy of the letter to the Minister of Cooperative Governance, Richard Baloyi to request that the alleged irregular appointment process of a municipal manager be investigated and legally appealed.

The position became vacant in July 2012 and advertised. The selection panel under the leadership of the Mayor of BCRM unanimously recommended that Dr. Edward Rankwana be appointed as the Municipal Manager.

However, at a council meeting on October 2012 the councillors who served on the selection committee endorsing the appointment, voted against their previous choice.

It is alleged that the sudden about turn was the result of political interference by the chairperson of ANC in region, Sicelo Gqobana, who is also MEC for Health in the province.

It was agreed that the post be re-advertised for a second time and Dr. Rankwana was the only applicant with the prescribed requirements to fill the post.

Instead of endorsing this and adhering to the prescripts of section 54 (A) (4b) in which a council must appoint a suitable person from a pool of candidates who complies with the prescribed requirements, council went against the prescripts of the Act.

I am informed by members of the Blue Crane Route council that the municipal manager for Cacadu District Municipality (subs: Blue Crane Route fall under Cacadu District) wants to write to the MEC to waive the minimum qualifications, as per sub section 10 of section 54 of the Municipal Systems Act.

In terms of this section of the Act a municipal council may, in special circumstances and if good cause is shown, apply in writing to waive any of the requirements listed in sub section 2 if it is unable to attract suitable candidates.

Clearly, Thandekile Mnyiba is not the most suitable person for the job. In this case Dr. Rankwana is.

The waiving of requirements will set a dangerous precedent and will perpetuate cronyism and mediocrity even further.

With the technical manager and chief financial officer-posts vacant and community services manager post due to expire in May, it is critical that the appointment of a suitably qualified municipal manager be appointed immediately to stabilise operations in Blue Crane Route Municipality.