Police question top Mpumalanga official over ‘job for pals’ scandal

2015-01-16 13:27

The manager of Mpumalanga’s capital city has been taking in for questioning regarding a job-for-ANC-cadres scandal.

Mbombela municipal manager, Noko Seanego, was summoned by police to answer allegations about the irregular appointment of 30 law enforcement officers last October.

The police acted on the matter at the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) urging, after months of apparently doing nothing since a complaint was lodged in November at Nelspruit Police Station.

Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala confirmed that Seanego was being questioned.

“He’s at the police station and we’re not yet sure if he will be charged or what,” Mohlala said.

City Press revealed in December that Seanego, who was corporate services director at the time, allegedly interfered with the process of hiring the officers and ignored protests from the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union.

We also obtained audio and video recording as well as documents substantiating the unions’ claims that Seanego and other officials played a role in ensuring the employment of the ANC cadres by:

» Handing a list of 40 ANC cadres from the Ehlanzeni region to the panel;

» Deciding to give 10 candidates, who were non-ANC members but passed the interviews, low-paying jobs as security guards. Security guards earn R97?000 a year while law enforcers earn R146 000; and

» Bringing in three more candidates who were given scores without going through the shortlisting and interviewing processes. They also changed certain positions to “specialised security officers” when it appeared that some of the cadres had criminal records and would not qualify to be law enforcement officers.

Only four of the 10 candidates accepted the jobs as security officers. The six who refused were recorded in a heated argument with Seanego, complaining that they were phoned and told to fetch appointment letters as law enforcement officers only to be told on arrival at Mbombela offices that they were being given the security jobs.

The municipality advertised 16 law enforcement officer vacancies but ended up employing 30 people at an additional cost of about R2 million a year.

The EFF’s provincial command team member, Cyril Chuene, said the party had to pressure the police to investigate the matter.

“We had to put pressure on the police and the prosecutors to deal with the case. We had to tell the police this week to explain why they were delaying arresting Seanego because the prosecutor had said there was prima facie evidence,” Chuene said.

The municipality suspended Samwu shop steward Mthokozisi Mhlongo after he protested about the irregularities. Seanego, meanwhile, was promoted to the municipal manager position in the first week of December.

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