Corrupt officials face 10-year ban

2014-01-19 10:00

New regulations aim to help with implementation of Municipal Systems Amendment Act.

Government has tightened the screws on corrupt and errant senior managers in municipalities by banning those found guilty of financial misconduct from local government jobs for 10 years.

Those found guilty of other offences will be barred for between two and five years.

New regulations gazetted on Friday also set minimum levels of skills, expertise and qualifications for senior managers, while pay will be capped by the minister in future.

These regulations were published after a week in which yet another protest – this time over water cuts in the Madibeng municipality in North West – turned deadly.

The protesters claimed municipal governance was bad and that infrastructure was not maintained.

The regulations have been a long time coming and are aimed at helping municipalities implement the Municipal Systems Amendment Act, which was passed in 2011.

Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance Andries Nel said the department believed “these regulations, with the excellent [anticorruption] work done by the department of public service and administration, will go a long way to prohibit public servants from doing business with government and strengthening government efforts to crack down on corruption”.

He added: “It will go a long way to build the developmental state, as outlined in the National Development Plan.”

He said many municipalities with service-delivery challenges have a lack of adequately skilled personnel. “In some cases, people are clearly not qualified to execute their jobs and this legislation attempts to deal with those kinds of situations.”

According to the regulations, municipalities have to keep records of fired employees or those who quit before their disciplinary hearing is completed.

They have to share that information with the minister or the MEC within 14 days.

Previously, some “errant” managers were merely redeployed:

»?Last year, a Bitou municipal manager found guilty of financial misconduct was rehired by the Sundays River Valley municipality in Eastern Cape in 2012.

He was subsequently cleared;

»?In Maluti-A-Phofung municipality in Free State, a municipal manager who resigned halfway through a hearing into charges that he had misrepresented his qualifications resurfaced at the Ventersdorp municipality in North West six years later; and

»?A Mangaung municipal manager who was fired in 2005 after an internal hearing after being implicated in tender fraud and corruption worth R130?million was rehired by the Ngaka Modiri Molema municipality in North West in 2009.

A court cleared him in 2012.

Municipal workers’ union Samwu and the SA Local Government Association (Salga) opposed the passing of the act and the regulations.

Samwu was concerned about the act prohibiting senior political office bearers from becoming senior managers in local government, while Salga was unhappy with a range of issues, including the capping of salaries by national government.

How the punishment works

10-year ban from local government

»?Corruption, fraud or financial misconduct, according to the Municipal Finance Management Act

5-year ban from local government

»?Dishonesty or negligence

»?Assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm

»?Sexual harassment

»?Take a decision on behalf of the municipality where the senior manager’s spouse, partner or business associate has a direct benefit or private business interest

»?Being party to or a beneficiary under a contract to provide goods and services to any municipality

2-year ban from local government

»?Breach of code of conduct for municipal staff other than the misconduct mentioned above

Local government: Regulations on appointment and conditions of employment of senior managers

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