DA wants appointment of senior manager in Buffalo City Metro investigated

The DA in the Eastern Cape has written to the MEC of Cooperative Governance, Fikile Xasa, to urgently investigate the appointment of the Head of Department for Human Settlements in the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality.

I believe that the appointment was made irregularly, based on the fact that the incumbent, Luyanda Mbula, did not meet the relevant requirements for the post. Mr Mbula’s overall achievement for leading competencies as well as his overall achievement in terms of competencies was found to be in the category of ‘basic’. This means that he requires supervision and development intervention.

It is unacceptable to appoint an incompetent person as accounting officer of a major department in one of the province’s only two metropolitan municipalities. The question is, who will have the duty to supervise him and how will development intervention be implemented? According to the employment matrices information an individual in the category of ‘basic’ is unsuitable to be a senior manager. What makes this appointment even more perturbing, is the fact that there were two other candidates who were found to be in the category of ‘competent’.

What is of further concern is that it appears that the correct procedures were not followed in the meeting of Council when the appointment was made. Various rules in terms of the Council’s Standing Rules of Order appears to have been flouted on the day of the appointment. Various serious and relevant grounds were raised in the meeting challenging the appointment, which led to a division being demanded by the DA. It is alleged that the Speaker, in contravention of the Standing Rules of Order, ignored the demand for division and prematurely and unlawfully adjourned the meeting.

The letter to the MEC specifically requests investigations into the legality of the appointment and asks that it be rescinded as the Council did not have the opportunity to satisfy itself as to the suitability of the candidate for the post.

The DA has either written or has submitted legislature questions to MEC Xasa regarding irregular appointments of senior managers and Municipal Managers in the province on various occasions. Other instances includes the now-dismissed Municipal Manager in Walter Sisulu Municipality, the irregular appointment of the Municipal Manager and senior managers in Enoch Mgijima Municipality, the appointment of senior managers and the Municipal Manager in Intsika Yethu Municipality, controversy around the Senqu Municipal Manager that is embroiled in a court case, and the legality of the Port St Johns Municipal Manager.

There seems to be an inability or unwillingness across the province when it comes to ensuring that Municipal Managers and senior managers are appointed in terms of the law and following the correct procedures as provided for in legislation. It is a symptom of incompetence and maladministration.

The DA will continue to keep a close eye on all appointments, especially those of the highest accounting officers in municipalities to ensure that the letter of the law is followed. What we want is total change that will bring good governance and fairness in all municipalities. — Vicky Knoetze MPL, Shadow MEC for Cooperative Governance