Madonsela: Eastern Cape CFO appointed unlawfully

2014-12-13 09:18

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The appointment of the Chief Financial Officer at Senqu Municipality in the Eastern Cape was improper and unlawful because he did not have the required qualifications, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has found.

“The allegation that Mr [Christopher] Venter did not have the required qualifications to be appointed to the position of CFO at the time when he was appointed has been substantiated,” the protector said in a report released yesterday.

Venter had passed only matric and did not have the appropriate tertiary qualifications required by the position.

He was appointed financial manager in 2002 and CFO in 2007. His position as CFO was renewed in 2012.

According to the report, his appointment in both positions constituted “improper conduct”.

The municipality had failed to comply with the requirements of its own advertisement for the position and had violated the Municipal Systems Act.

Its conduct was regarded as “maladministration” in terms of the Public Protector Act.

The Protector found that the municipality should have advertised the CFO position in 2007 and in 2012, given that Venter did not have the right qualifications to fill it.

“The conduct of the Senqu Municipal Council in failing to adhere to the legal prescripts as indicated above was unlawful,” Madonsela said in the report.

Although Venter’s appointments were initially improper and unlawful, they were legitimised when he obtained the relevant qualification in June 2014.

The Protector found that allegations that Venter exerted undue influence in the appointment of his wife by one of the municipality’s service providers “could not be substantiated”.

She recommended that a performance agreement be entered into with Venter within 30 days, and that the municipality advertise the CFO position when Venter’s contract ended.

It was also recommended that the Eastern Cape MEC for local government and traditional affairs investigate the circumstances leading to the violation of the Municipal Systems Act and the conduct of the officials involved.

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