MEC could have avoided legal action over unlawful appointment in SRVM months ago

Issued by Vicky Knoetze, MPL
Shadow MEC for COGTA

In a landmark court decision, the appointment of the Chief Financial Officer of the Sunday’s River Valley Municipality (SRVM) has been set aside by the Eastern Cape division of the High Court.

This is exactly what the Democratic Alliance warned the MEC of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Xolile Nqatha, would happen in June last year, when we advised him that the appointment was irregular and unlawful and requested his intervention.

Download: Letter  and Court Judgement

Had the MEC heeded our advice, the municipality could have been spared the legal costs, and would not be in the position of having to start the appointment process from scratch.

The DA is also of the view that, following the judgement, a review must be carried out in terms of all material financial decisions made by the CFO in the eight months that she has held the position.

DA councillors in SRVM, specifically Councillor Minette Bosman (Finance and Administration Standing Committee) raised concerns in council where she questioned the fact that the selection panel rated the CFO in question as ‘basic’ whereas the other four applicants were all rated as ‘competent’.

She also questioned the past performance of the CFO as well as the fact that she did not meet the minimum required skills and competencies to serve as a senior manager.

In response to questions, MEC Nqatha said, “the appointed person meets all the requirements of the financial management competency levels as qualifications and experience serves as such proof” and that “there is nothing irregular that is justified legally regarding such appointment”.

Download: IQP Response

Clearly the court disagrees with the MEC in this regard.

This goes to show just how decisions are bulldozed through Council and how alarm bells are ignored by the those in higher structures.

Despite the DA’s pleas to MEC Nqatha to intervene as a matter of urgency in terms of this appointment, and to look into the interview process around this critical position, the MEC ignored the advice and condoned the appointment.

It is this blatant disregard for the law that has resulted in the shocking state of South African Municipalities, as pointed out by the Auditor General, Kimi Makwetu.

The poor state of the financial audit outcomes is brought about by a lack of accountability, poor financial performance management by local government municipalities and cadre deployees in critical positions that do not meet the prescribed minimum competencies for these key positions.

We appeal to MEC Nqata to rise to the occasion and intervene in municipalities where the law is blatantly being ignored, resulting in possible devastating consequences.

It is time to put an end to cadre deployees in municipalities that fail to take accountability for their actions.

The Democratic Alliance is the only party that fights for rule of law, fair and legal processes and procedures that are geared towards preventing poor service delivery.