The Mpumalanga government has been hit by another traffic cop learnership scandal, where spaces were allegedly reserved for politically connected individuals.
The provincial department of community safety, security and liaison has been accused of appointing 97 trainees without conducting interviews and vetting for the one-year learnership programme. The students began their training at the Mpumalanga Traffic College in Bushbuckridge on Monday.
Mpumalanga EFF chairperson Collen Sedibe has since written to MEC Gabisile Tshabalala demanding information such as the shortlisting criteria, the number of applicants and their names, the dates of interviews and the names of the interviewing panel members.
“This act of nepotism and corruption in the appointment of traffic officers and general workers isn’t new in Mpumalanga, but our call to government to refrain from discriminating and sidelining other unemployed and impoverished young men and women of the province, who aren’t connected to the ANC leadership, falls on deaf ears,” said Sedibe.
Similar complaints about the selection of traffic officer trainees have previously been reported in the City of Mbombela and Emalahleni Local Municipality.
The learnership appointments have caused a storm on social media, with disgruntled young people concurring with the EFF that the department benefited comrades and friends.
“On investigation, the EFF established that some people did indeed not undergo the interview process and others didn’t meet the necessary requirements,” said Sedibe.
Department of community safety, security and liaison spokesperson Moeti Mmusi denied that the process had been irregular, but declined to provide City Press with the names of the candidates who applied and those who were shortlisted, claiming that it was illegal to give such information to the media.
“All the due processes were followed and the selected young men and women went through a rigorous selection programme that entailed writing tests and doing practical driving tests. The process was conducted by the department and there was no political interference, as has been insinuated on social media,” said Mmusi.
He said some applicants could not be taken on because they failed the tests, while others were simply not profiled because they had criminal records, did not have a Grade 12 certificate or did not have driver’s licences.
Emalahleni traffic cop scandal
Last year, the Emalahleni Local Municipality sent 20 trainees to the Mpumalanga Traffic College – a process that benefited politicians’ relatives and associates.
- Sithembiso Mbuli, the son of former Emalahleni executive mayor Lindiwe Ntshalintshali, who is now the ANC acting provincial secretary, and culture, sport and recreation MEC;
- Sizwe Mabona, Ntshalintshali’s nephew;
- Dumisane Djiane, the son of Emalahleni municipal public accounts committee chairperson Jerry Djiane;
- Barbara Mohlala, who the SA National Civic Organisation alleged was the girlfriend of technical services MMC and ANC Nkangala regional executive committee member Mduduzi Mswati Nkosi;
- Lerato Ralele, the wife of waste and environment MMC Thabang Mathebula. Mathebula is also the Nkangala ANC Youth League secretary;
- Sebula Mokgadi, the daughter of executive mayor Linah Malatjie’s aide, Feshy Mahlangu; and
- Lindokuhle Gift Tamale, the son of public safety MMC Derrick Skhosana.
City Press saw documents that indicated that some of the trainees did not qualify because of either having a criminal record or no matric certificate, as Mmusi explained. However, there was also an affidavit detailing how councillors and senior officials interfered with the shortlisting process and brought their own 13 names to be considered.
Emalahleni spokesperson Lebohang Mofokeng could not confirm whether any of these trainees were employed at the municipality.
City of Mbombela scandal
About three years ago, the City of Mbombela’s politicians and officials allegedly selected 47 individuals to be trained as traffic officers.
Sources told City Press at the time that the municipality advertised the posts, but did not shortlist and interview applicants. When it was time to send the trainees to college, the politicians and officials allegedly supplied a list of individuals to be considered – thereby shutting out unemployed members of the public.