Jobs for ANC cadres in Mbombela

2014-12-07 06:00

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Officials from the Mbombela municipality in Mpumalanga are accused of reserving 30 jobs for ANC cadres.

City Press has obtained secretly recorded audio and video clips and documents that show how 30 ANC members from the Ehlanzeni region were hired as law enforcement officers on October 2.

An SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) shop steward, Mthokozisi Mhlongo, who is a traffic cop for the municipality, was suspended after lodging a complaint about the appointments with the bargaining council.

Mhlongo told City Press his suspension letter was delivered to him by a busload of the newly employed cadres – but he declined to comment further.

According to documents in City Press’ possession, the municipality advertised 16 law enforcement officer positions with an annual salary of R146?000 each. In the end, 30 people were employed at an additional cost of R2?million a year.

Panel chairperson Thamsanqa Khumalo allegedly handed panellists a list of about 40 ANC cadres from the party’s Ehlanzeni regional office to be shortlisted for interviews.

These allegations were made in Samwu’s written dispute, along with another dispute form submitted by a chief inspector from the law enforcement department and a source who sat on the interview panel.

“Speak to the municipal manager or the spokesperson. I can’t speak to you,” said Khumalo.

“Khumalo told us the positions were meant for the ANC members on the list and we were obliged to ensure that they were employed,” said the panellist.

“While interviews were on, the ANC members – some of whom were MK [Umkhonto weSizwe] veterans – were chanting struggle slogans while waiting for their turn. One could see they felt entitled and were certain the positions belonged to them,” he said.

Ten candidates, who were not ANC members but passed the interviews, were given lower-paid jobs as security guards. Security guards earn R97?000 a year.

Only four of the candidates agreed to be security guards. The others complained to Mbombela’s then corporate services director Noko Seanego.

Samwu claims in its written dispute form that Seanego – who became Mbombela’s municipal manager on Thursday – brought in three more candidates and instructed the panel to give them scores without them being shortlisted or attending interviews.

Seanego commented by text message: “I’m not sure what your issues with the ANC are and, quite frankly, I’m not interested.

“The appointment of staff is purely an administrative matter. Political parties are not involved. We’re currently dealing with all allegations levelled through an internal process, which I’m not at liberty to divulge to the media. Yet, safe to say, you will be the first to know once concluded.”

In a video recording of a meeting that City Press has seen, Seanego tells members of the interview panel the shortlisting process was “aborted” – a reference to Samwu and the chief inspector’s written disputes.

In the audio recording, which City Press has heard, Seanego apologises and then loses his temper when six candidates confronted him about the process.

The candidates are heard telling him they were phoned to collect appointment letters as law enforcement officers but were then told they should take jobs as security officers.

One of the candidates says: “Has this thing ever happened in the history of South Africa? It sounds illegal. I’m very disappointed?...?we told our wives we’ve been employed as law enforcement officers, not as security guards.”

Seanego becomes angry.

“Do you want me to kill myself? You can leave the job if you want, it’s your choice. I can be very arrogant, so stop poking your fingers at me. If you don’t want it, leave it.”

One of the candidates, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the meeting with Seanego and that it was his voice on the audio recording.

Mbombela municipality’s spokesperson Joseph Ngala denied the appointment process had been irregular and invited anyone with evidence to come forward.

Ehlanzeni ANC deputy chairperson Pat Ngomane said the organisation was not involved.

“As the ANC, we don’t impose who should be employed and we urge our deployees to hire people who can bring services to our people,” Ngomane said.

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