Jobs-for-pals scandal: Probe exonerates Mbombela manager

2015-04-14 16:35

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A municipal manager embroiled in a jobs-for-ANC members scandal is now completely off the hook after an internal probe vindicated him.

The report laid the blame on junior officials who allegedly tried to manipulate the recruitment process, not Mbombela municipal manager Noko Seanego.

However, the report on the investigation into Seanego’s role in employing 30 law enforcement officers last October has not been tabled before the council.

Mayor Sibusiso Mathonsi has only made a verbal presentation, which happened about a week ago.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) was displeased and accused Mathonsi of undermining the council’s oversight role when he unilaterally decided to appoint an investigator.

Mathonsi’s spokesperson, Joseph Ngala, said: “The mayor presented the report verbally and did not table it because it was an in-committee meeting. He said a number of officials tried to manipulate the process because they had interests and wanted their girlfriends, who did not qualify, to be employed.

“It was a brutal report. It named the implicated officials. The mayor has not yet indicated what action will be taken,” he added.

It was alleged that Seanego, who was then corporate services director, allegedly engineered the employment of these members in front of the South African Municipal Workers Union and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union representatives sitting on the interviewing panel.

The alleged “dealings” were caught on audio and video recordings.

According to the unions, Mathonsi’s personal assistant and panel chairperson Thamsanqa Khumalo presented a list of ANC members to be employed and Seanego took over the process.

Sixteen law enforcement officer positions were advertised for a R146 000 annual salary each, but 14 more were eventually employed at an additional R2 million a year.

Seanego allegedly brought in three candidates who were not shortlisted and instructed the panellists to give them scores as if they were interviewed.

He also allegedly renamed the positions “specialised security officers” in order to circumvent vetting of the candidates who had criminal records.

Ten candidates, who were not ANC members but passed the interviews, were forced to take jobs as security guards, which paid R97 000 a year.

Four of the candidates agreed. The rest took the matter to the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration.

Democratic Alliance councillor Werner le Grange said Mathonsi’s report indicated that there were weaknesses in the recruitment and selection processes of the municipality.

“He has to come back and report how the loopholes will be fixed,” said Le Grange.

This is a second victory for Seanego.

In February, the Nelspruit Magistrates’ Court dropped fraud and corruption charges gainst Seanego because police had not finished their investigation.

The charges were laid by the Economic Freedom Fighters. Police have indicated that they would pursue the case and reinstate it.

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