Jobs reserved for cadres

2017-08-06 00:00
Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza.

Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza. (Leon Sadiki)

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The ANC in Mpumalanga’s Ehlanzeni region has apparently made an attempt to take over municipal powers allegedly to ensure its choice of staff members would be employed at all levels.

There is speculation that the party meddled in municipal affairs because it wanted to reward delegates at the ANC’s national elective conference in December with government jobs. Ehlanzeni is the ANC’s biggest region in Mpumalanga and is able to influence decisions in other regions.

City Press has seen a letter that the party’s Ehlanzeni regional secretary, Phazamisa Mathe, wrote to Nkomazi municipal chief whip Simon Mabuza on July 10 that informed him that the municipality should stop filling vacancies until further notice.

“Your office is requested to stop all forms of employment and deployments whatsoever until further notice. [Including] employment of general workers, clerks, administrators, directors, managers and even section 56 managers,” Mathe’s letter reads.

“This simply means that all positions must not be advertised and no employment must be put into place until the municipality is advised to do so. Your office is highly requested to respect and implement [this decision] with immediate effect,” says the letter.

The ANC’s perceived interference in the municipality is expected to also affect the City of Mbombela and the Nkomazi municipality, which administer towns including Hazyview, White River, Malelane and Komatipoort, as well as surrounding peri-urban areas and rural villages.

A source in the rural Nkomazi Local Municipality, who cannot be named for fear of being victimised, said the ANC had launched a takeover of the municipality and expected municipal officials to rubber-stamp the party’s decisions. Although this was not stated in the letter, the order allegedly also affected the awarding of tenders.

“They’re micromanaging us … that’s the ANC’s intention,” the source said.

A source from the SA Communist Party in the province agreed with the allegations that the ANC’s intention was to exert control over municipalities.

“This letter does not talk about financial constraints [facing municipalities]. Even if there were, the ANC has nothing to do with [administration],” he said.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the DA said they believed that the jobs were being reserved for ANC delegates who will attend the December conference.

The ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) has resolved that Premier David Mabuza should be elected as deputy president of the country. To achieve this, the province needs to go to the conference united, and with considerable political sway over other provinces.

The interference by the ANC in the region appears to have also made possible the re-employment of an official with a chequered past. Since making the demand, the ANC has forced the employment of former Mkhondo Local Municipality chief finance officer Steven Thobela, who resigned in May after an investigation into corruption and cancelled contracts was opened.

ANC regional secretary Mathe has denied there is a moratorium on filling municipal posts or that the ANC has taken over municipal powers regarding vacancies.

He said public institutions were guided by the Constitution and policies, but he could not clarify the meaning of his letter to the municipality.

He insisted that job opportunities were open to all residents within the region, irrespective of political affiliation, and added that municipalities had not stopped filling vacancies.

Despite Mathe’s denial, cadre deployment appears to be deeply entrenched in Mpumalanga under the ANC. In 2011, the PEC took a resolution that jobs were to be reserved for cadres who did not make it onto local government lists.

The minutes of the PEC 2011 meeting stated: “The officials thoroughly discussed this matter and resolved to recommend that, as the caring organisation, the ANC should try to deploy all the cadres of the organisation who could not make it on the list. All MECs should, as a matter of urgency, inform the provincial secretary about ‘the funded vacant post’ for the purpose of possible deployment [sic].”

EFF Mpumalanga leader Collen Sedibe said: “This confirms what the EFF has been raising about cadre deployment and nepotism. We know that the whole purpose of this moratorium is to reserve employment positions for ANC delegates to the national elective conference, and we have no doubt that it will apply to all the municipalities, provincial departments and state-owned enterprises because that is how Premier Mabuza operates.”

DA provincial leader James Masango said the moratorium was all about the conference and sidelining those who were not toeing the party line.

“Where on earth have you seen a party bringing on a moratorium on employment in a government institution? This is about their conference,” he said.

After City Press sent questions to the ANC, Mpumalanga ANC secretary Mandla Ndlovu on Friday said the region had been told to withdraw its instruction to the municipality.

“I’m not trying to dilute your story, but we’ve already told the region to withdraw. It was wrong, it was a human error,” Ndlovu said.

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