Bay back to square one on manager

Rochelle de Kock

THE Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is to restart the process of finding a permanent city manager – for the third time.

A secret report to councillors at a full council meeting last week revealed that the entire recruitment process had to be restarted because more than four months had elapsed since the applicants were short-listed.

The executive director posts will also be re-advertised because short-listing has not yet taken place after the posts were advertised in November last year.

This comes after The Herald in July reported that the entire process of searching for a city manager could be restarted because a dark cloud was hanging over two of the final four short-listed candidates, who were suspended from their respective municipalities.

One of the remaining two eligible candidates withdrew his application and the other did not have experience of running a municipality.

Acting municipal manager Themba Hani’s reason for starting the recruitment process afresh, however, is because too much time has passed since the candidates were short-listed.

In the report, Hani said one candidate withdrew his application, which “could be attributed to change in career-related circumstances and aspirations that took place during the period”.

“It should be noted that the standard recruitment timeline in respect of the municipality recruitment and selection practices and procedures is three months,” Hani said.

The manager post has been vacant since 2009.

Integrated Development Plan director Sithembele Vatala was at the centre of the controversy in the recruitment process last year. He took the municipality to court, claiming the process was flawed.

In May, the process was stalled again by Bay deputy mayor Nancy Sihlwayi, who is the convener of the interview panel, because there were “political matters that needed to be sorted out first”, according to an insider privy to the interview process.

Since then, the panellists have not met.

On the interview panel are Sihlwayi, Mandela Bay Development Agency chairman Dr Sipho Pityana and Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber chairman Kevin Hustler. Former metro corporate services director Rio Nolutshungu was also a panellist, but he resigned in May.

The recruitment process plan will be discussed at a special council meeting expected later this week. Council is yet to decide on whether to extend Hani’s contract.

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