uMngeni boss failed test

2019-10-02 14:01
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As the uMngeni Municipality in Howick lurches from one financial crisis to another, it has emerged that its municipal manager, Thembeka Cibane, was appointed despite failing a pre-employment test.

The Witness is in possession of documents compiled by a human resources company showing that an assessment of Cibane’s capabilities had found her to be unsuitable for the position.

Out of 15 assessment categories ranging from planning to financial management, Cibane achieved an average score for three while failing 12 outright.

The assessment, which was conducted by top HR company Work Dynamics on behalf of the provincial Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Department shortly before Cibane’s employment in February 2017, found her to be unable to perform at a strategic level.

“From a holistic perspective, it is clear that Thembeka performed at a basic level in the assessment. Her profile shows she is someone who will focus on the operational aspects of what needs to be done by following set procedures and structures but needs to consider long-term sustainability issues more decisively,” the report said.

A former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) member, Cibane was previously municipal manager at the much smaller Ndwedwe Municipality.

The assessment report made it clear that Cibane’s previous position did not sufficiently prepare her for the current post.

“While she is likely to follow and uphold processes, she may not appropriately analyse information to make informed decisions,” the report said.

The report on Cibane emerges a few months after Economic Freedom Front (EFF) leader Julius Malema led a march to the uMngeni Municipality offices after residents had complained about lack of service delivery ranging from water to electricity supply.

A few weeks ago the uMngeni SPCA, which for several years had been serving animals from around Howick, was compelled to shut down its small animal pound in the area after the municipality had failed to provide funding.

The Democratic Alliance, which also had been complaining about the poor management of resources at the municipality, had previously questioned Cibane’s suitability for the top post.

“When the ANC leadership in the municipality employed her they refused to provide us with her CV and documents related to her interview. As the DA, we are not surprised at all that she had been found to be unsuitable, particularly given that she had come from a small municipality,” said DA uMngeni Municipality caucus leader Janis Holmes.

uMngeni Municipality spokesperson Thando Mgaga said the uMngeni Mayor, Sizwe Sokhela, who is said to be one of the ANC political leaders at the council who had pushed for Cibane’s appointment, was the appropriate person to comment on the Cibane matter.

Asked about Cibane’s assessment report, Sokhela, who promised to issue a full statement on the matter in due course, said he has no recollection of the document.

However, Sokhela said it was important for the public to understand that the decision to hire a municipal manager was a collective one and not that of the mayor alone.

In June an audit undertaken by Cogta found that the bulk of the province’s 54 municipalities were encountering administrative challenges ranging from unqualified senior officials to political interference.

Cogta spokesperson Lennox Mabaso, who said the department was currently rolling out a programme to support the province’s underperforming municipalities, declined to comment on the Cibane matter.

“The outcome of an assessment of any council employee is supposed to be confidential and as such the department is not in a position to comment on leaked documents,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  umngeni municipality
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