Harper gets the nod as Bay’s new finance boss

Trevor Harper

Rochelle de Kock

EASTERN Cape Gambling and Betting Board chief financial officer (CFO) Trevor Harper has been approved by the Nelson Mandela Bay council as the city’s new finance boss.

However, his appointment is subject to special consent from the national Treasury and Eastern Cape Local Government MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane.

Harper, who will only be notified once Qoboshiyane gives the appointment the nod, said on Friday he would “definitely consider it” should he be offered the job.

His appointment was approved at a confidential special council meeting on Friday, where he got the thumbs up from the majority in the ANC, DA and UDM.

COPE and seven ANC councillors refused to endorse Harper’s appointment because he did not have the Municipal Finance Management Act minimum competencies, which are Treasury requirements for a CFO.

They also said Harper was not shortlisted during the first round of interviews and was only considered in the second round.

Three councillors from different political parties confirmed the events at the meeting.

Harper is a qualified chartered accountant with extensive experience in the private sector. He has worked at the gambling board since 2010 and was chairman of the Eastern Cape Health Department’s audit committee.

Mayor Ben Fihla, in a confidential report to the council – which the Herald has seen – said the municipality could appoint an official who did not meet the minimum competency levels if it received Treasury’s special consent to give the official time to obtain the necessary unit standards.

“However, the person must have already attained… [the] higher education qualifications, work-related experience [and] core managerial and occupational competency.

“The application [to the Treasury] must be accompanied by information which outlines why the municipality was unable to appoint a duly qualified person … ”

Fihla said given Harper’s qualifications and experience, he would be exempted from a large number of unit standards and would require minimum training to complete the remaining unit standards.

The municipality has not had a permanent finance boss since 2011 when Kevin Jacoby resigned. The post was advertised several times, but it was only in December that a candidate was recommended as suitable.

The council approved the appointment of Kumaran Nair, but this was rejected by Qoboshiyane who felt Nair was not the right person for the job as he did not meet all the requirements. On Friday, the council rescinded its decision to appoint Nair.

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