Broke Eastern Cape municipality's R1.5m mayoral advisor post sparks cronyism allegations

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A broke Eastern Cape municipality has posted an advert for a mayoral advisor.
A broke Eastern Cape municipality has posted an advert for a mayoral advisor.
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  • A broke rural ANC-run municipality in the Eastern Cape has come under criticism after advertising a R1.5 million per annum job for a political advisor to its mayor.
  • In January, the Amathole District Municipality needed a R180 million bailout from the government to pay its staff. 
  • The EFF says it will fight to stop the appointment and for the position to be permanently removed. 

The bankrupt Amathole District Municipality, which needed a R180 million government bailout to pay four months' salary to its bloated 1 670 workforce, has now advertised a position for a political advisor to the mayor - with an annual salary of R1.5 million. 

Duties for the plum position include reading and responding to emails sent to the mayor. 

According to the job advertisement, the successful candidate's duties would also include "scanning circumstances and environments the executive mayor is getting involved with".

The person will also be expected to conduct research for national and international conferences to be attended. 

READ | No pay for workers for 4 months, says bankrupt Eastern Cape municipality

The primary task of the political advisor will be to "advise the executive mayor on aspects relating to politics and socioeconomic aspects that may have impact on political scenery".

The successful candidate will also co-ordinate and oversee information about places/countries to be visited by the mayor and also provide members of the public access to the mayor.

News24 sent detailed questions to the municipality about the newly advertised position, but its spokesperson, Nonceba Madikizela-Vuso, would only say: "The position of a political advisor is not new in the office of the executive mayor and thus has no different bearing to the municipal finances than other positions." 

Bill

The municipality previously revealed an unaffordable salary bill had caused its financial crisis, saying 900 people were hired in positions not within its organogram.   

The EFF in the Eastern Cape described the advertised post as nothing but cronyism.

The party's provincial chairperson Yazini Tetyana said the party's six councillors in the municipality have been tasked with submitting a motion to stop the recruitment process.  

"This is pure cronyism. Just look at what the appointed person's duties would be. It tells you that they just created a position for someone within their organisation who has been left behind [unemployed]."

ALSO READ | Broke Amathole District Municipality hired 900 employees who were 'not needed'

Of the 900 people employed outside of the organogram, the municipality previously revealed 500 were hired in a single month in 2013 in what the municipality termed as mass employment. 

This was revealed by then-mayor Mkhanyiseli Maneli and municipal manager Thandekile Mnyimba during a press conference in East London in January.

They were explaining some of the factors that led to the municipality's financial crisis.

The municipality needed a R180 million bailout from provincial and national government to cover salaries for February, April, May and June.

READ | Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane supports Shell's plans in Wild Coast

Eastern Cape Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Xolile Nqatha's spokesperson, Makhaya Komisa, said the matter would be raised with the municipality.

"Our position will be shared after engaging the municipality."

SA Municipal Workers' Union regional secretary Luthando Juju could not comment immediately. It will be added once received. 

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