Veil of secrecy around delay in informing Mlokothi of appointment
The man slated to run the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is yet to be notified of his new job – with just two weeks to go. And to add to the mystery, Cooperative Governance MEC Fikile Xasa – who by law has to approve the appointment – is yet to receive notice from the council of Vuyo Mlokothi’s appointment.
Meanwhile, the political leadership of the municipality has closed ranks on the issue, refusing to say when Mlokothi – a former official at the City of Johannesburg and ex-municipal manager of the Amathole District Municipality – is set to start.
Mayoral chief of staff Kristoff Adelbert would only say Mlokothi had not yet signed a contract, meaning there was no contractually agreed-upon date to start.
“Mr Mlokothi has not signed an employment contract, thus we have not engaged with the MEC nor has a start date been contractually agreed to,” he said.
“As such, we have not yet finalised the recruitment process.
“[It] is only finalised once a contract is signed.
“The details of this process and any matters pertaining to it cannot be divulged until it is finalised,” Adelbert said.
However, last month mayor Athol Trollip said Mlokothi would start on December 1.
The Herald also understands that shortly after the council’s October 27 decision to hire Mlokothi, undisclosed information about his term at the State Information Technology Agency (Sita) emerged.
It is believed that the municipality is holding off on finalising his contract as there are claims that Mlokothi left Sita under a dark cloud in July.
It is alleged by insiders that he was suspended by Sita and subsequently resigned.
Mlokothi refused to comment when asked if he had been suspended by Sita.
“I resigned voluntarily in July this year. I cannot comment on this. I resigned voluntarily, there was an agreement,” he said.
Probed about the agreement he was referring to, Mlokothi said: “I am not ready to discuss that. I cannot comment.
“I have said when the time is right, I will speak to you. Now you are ambushing me.
“There were no squabbles between myself and the company.
“You must raise these issues with the mayor [Trollip].
“I am not yet an employee. He would be the appropriate person to answer these questions.”
Sita said its former employee – was the executive of corporate services between July 1 2014 and July 15 this year – had left the agency following a mutual separation agreement.
Asked if Mlokothi had been suspended by Sita, the agency responded: “The terms of this agreement are covered by a confidentiality clause in terms of which the Sita is not at liberty to provide additional information.”
Last month, at a media briefing, Trollip said Mlokothi was the standout candidate who had scored the highest points.
He was chosen from more than 70 applicants for the coveted job.
Mlokothi holds a master’s degree in public administration and a certificate of executive leadership in public development, and has vast experience working in local government.
At the media briefing, Trollip said: “We shortlisted six candidates, two women and four men.
“The candidate who was a standout was Mr Mlokothi.
“We offered the job to him on condition that the council endorses the offer, which it has subsequently done.”
Mlokothi said yesterday he had only read about his appointment in the media and had not yet received any letter from the city informing him of the council decision.
Xasa said he had also not received any correspondence from the municipality regarding Mlokothi’s appointment.
“By law, I have to be informed about the appointment within 14 days of the council resolution to employ that person,” he said.
“I have not received anything yet. Maybe it is still coming.”
He said the city could not allow Mlokothi to start on December 1 without him agreeing to the appointment.
“He cannot start working without me checking if everything is in place,” Xasa said.
Mlokothi’s application was approved at last month’s chaotic council meeting, when glass jugs and glasses were hurled inside the chamber and at least one gunshot was fired.
Speaker Jonathan Lawack said yesterday that Mlokothi’s CV had been the only one circulated to party leaders at the council meeting as he was the preferred candidate.
The municipality’s acting head of corporate services, Vuyo Zitumane, said the city’s recruitment policy allowed the council to scrutinise the CV of only the preferred candidate.
“In the report, it is mentioned that the other candidates are employable or not,” she said.
“The person is recommended subject to the processes of council. “The processes are conditional. “If anything comes up about the person, the council can review and rescind its decision.”