Dodgy officials face bans

2014-01-22 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Good news, but hopelessly too late.

That was how the DA reacted yesterday to the new regulations governing the appointment of municipal managers published in the Government Gazette on Friday.

These regulations, which had been awaited since 2011, will amongst others limit the salaries of senior officials, including municipal managers.

They also place a 10-year ban on the appointment of any officials found guilty of financial, fraud, or corruption charges in another municipality.

The regulations further entail that such officials will not be able to get a job in any government sphere, as well as requiring that all the skills and expertise of candidates must be checked properly before they are appointed.

DA MP John Steenhuisen said while the regulations must be welcomed, they meant little in the current status quo.

“Because the department has been dragging its heels since 2011, all the service agreements which have been signed since then remain valid, whatever a person’s record may be.

“Which means we will be stranded with inept staff for a long time yet.”

He is also doubtful that the political will exists to enforce these reg­ulations.

Steenhuisen referred to the appointment of Noel Pietersen as municipal manager of the Camdeboo municipality in the Eastern Cape, despite the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Lechesa Tsenoli, declaring the appointment invalid.

Pietersen had already appeared in court on charges of corruption during his term as municipal manager in Oudtshoorn, but was nevertheless re-appointed.

Ivan Herselman from Afri­Forum, who has been driving a campaign against unqualified municipal staff, including in several KZN municipalities, also said it remains to be seen if municipalities will act against any councillors.

Andries Nel, deputy minister of Co-operative Government, said with these regulations, the department wants to make senior managers the agents of service delivery, as a lack of skills has hampered service delivery to date.

“Just as you don’t want an economist to operate on you, or take investment advice from plumbers, we cannot afford to have incompetent officials who do not deliver services correctly.”

Sister paper Die Burger earlier reported that a large number of municipal managers have been appointed illegally because they did not have the minimum prescribed competencies for the posts they occupy.

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