Samwu threatens court action over municipal manager delay

Rochelle de Kock

THE SA Municipal Workers’ Union yesterday demanded the immediate announcement of the new Nelson Mandela Bay municipal manager and said it was prepared to take the matter to court if the interview process was tampered with.

This comes after mayor Zanoxolo Wayile last week postponed the announcement to tomorrow due to alleged disagreements with the ANC’s Bay leaders over appointing the municipality’s Dr Sithembele Vatala as the new municipal manager.

Meanwhile, opposition parties in the Bay yesterday also said they would vehemently oppose the appointment of Mpilo Mbambisa, municipal manager of Chris Hani district municipality, who they believed would get the city’s top job.

Samwu national spokesman Tahir Sema said: “Samwu has become impatient with the many delays in the appointment of the municipal manager. The interviews were conducted on June 10.

“We are demanding that the best candidate be appointed in line with the performance of the candidates in the interviews. We will not allow the municipality to tamper with the interview process.

“We will not allow elements outside the institution to influence the process of appointing a particular candidate for their own business interests. We will object to any appointment that will seek to advance business or political agendas of politicians.

“We have been informed some politicians seek to advance their own agendas by influencing the appointment of a certain individual. Their initial plans were exposed. The citizens of the metro must be prioritised in this appointment as this institution is on the brink of collapse due to the narrow interests of a few.”

Wayile is set to announce the new municipal manager and allow councillors to debate the municipality’s brief response to the Kabuso findings at a special council meeting tomorrow.

UDM councillor Mongameli Bobani said Mbambisa had “poor managerial skills” and would not be able to take the city out of its “financial mess. Elias Ntoba came here from a small municipality with a R300-million budget and plunged the municipality into a deep financial crisis. It’s in a shambles and now they want to do the same.

“Mbambisa is in charge of a small municipality with a small budget, so it’s just another cadre deployment. We’ve seen an auditor-general report on Chris Hani municipality and it’s a damning report.

“How can the mayor take a person with poor managerial skills to run the metro? He cannot take this municipality out of its financial crisis.”

The audit report of the Chris Hani district municipality for the 2008/09 financial year, which The Herald has seen, paints a bleak picture of a municipal manager who does not exercise oversight of financial statements and compliance with laws and regulations. One of many such findings in the report was that there was no evidence of expenditure of R377-million.

COPE councillor Mzwandile Hote said they were tired of corruption in the metro. “We want the mayor to bring the supporting documents of all the candidates for the municipal manager post, so we can make an informed decision.”

The Herald has reliably learnt two other candidates in the running for the post are Makana municipal manager Ntombi Baart and Thabo Ndlovu, acting municipal manager of Westonaria.

Meanwhile, speaking at a press conference yesterday morning, UDM, COPE, PAC and ACDP councillors said it was important for Wayile to be upfront with ratepayers about the Kabuso report to regain public confidence in the institution.

 Hote said: “We demand the full version of the report, not the nine-page report we got on green paper. If the mayor doesn’t table the full report, we cannot debate it.

“The MEC of local government said the mayor must release the report to council, but now the mayor is saying it’s not his report but the MEC’s.”

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