Johannesburg - The government has started setting up a database of dodgy municipal officials to make sure those who are found guilty of mismanaging money, fixing tenders and misbehaving cannot work elsewhere in government for up to 10 years.
City Press reported that the local government summit kicked off in Pretoria on Thursday and ahead of it on Wednesday, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Pravin Gordhan briefed journalists about his department’s latest attempts to clean up municipalities.
Gordhan revealed at the briefing that he had written to MECs to explain why senior officials with chequered pasts are still being employed in local government.
New regulations governing municipal employees were promulgated in February after being proposed in 2011 under the Local Government Municipal Systems Amendment Act.
Gordhan and his deputy, Andries Nel, said the regulations would ensure that candidates with a history of misconduct couldn’t simply be hired in another municipality.
Nel said plans were already afoot to make the regulations applicable to provincial and national government departments. This would prevent “baddies” from running away from disciplinary charges to find a job elsewhere in the civil service.
In the past, many senior officials simply chose the easy way out when facing disciplinary action and left departments to avoid any repercussions.
But Nel said this would be a thing of the past soon as the regulations would keep the records of rogue officials even if they left before their disciplinary hearing could be heard.
“What we are doing about the baddies is that this act, which was amended two years ago, allows the minister for local government to make regulations that set minimum standards for the employment of municipal managers and senior officials.
“The act also makes provision for a database of transgressions. Those regulations were promulgated this year.
“Already Mr Gordhan has written to a number of MECs of local government asking them to provide reports on a range of senior officials who have been, in our view, wrongly appointed and appointed in contravention of those regulations.
“Depending on the feedback we get from the MECs the appropriate action will be taken. Those regulations make provision for either the MEC or the minister to go to court to have an official who has been wrongly appointed removed,” said Nel.
The database will also contain information about those who were charged with misconduct and left before a disciplinary process could be completed.
“Where people have been found guilty of those transgressions they will be excluded for periods of up to 10 years from being employed in local government,” said Nel.
But Gordhan said people shouldn’t expect results “overnight”.
“Judge us in a year’s time to see what progress we have made. We are still warming up our engines for this new administration. There will be instances where tough choices will be made,” said Gordhan.
The new regulations are part of a slew of issues set to be discussed at the summit, which was convened by President Jacob Zuma.
Those invited include mayors, councillors, municipal
managers and MECs.