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Durban - Municipal senior managers found guilty of misconduct face a ban on working for local government of between two and 12 years, according to proposed regulations tabled in Parliament by Co-operative Governance Minister Lechesa Tsenoli.
Financial misconduct, including corruption and fraud, would lead to a 10-year ban before that person could again work for local government – similar to gross misconduct involving dishonesty – while soliciting or accepting a gift to influence the provision of services and goods to a council would lead to a five-year ban.
A conviction for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm would incur a 12-year ban from working for any municipality, while a breach of the code of conduct, which includes declarations of financial interests, would invoke a two-year ban.
The Local Government: Regulations on Appointment and Conditions of Employment of Senior Managers follows the damning auditor-general’s audit of the 278 municipalities that found a clean bill of financial health in only nine of them – and none of them the metros, such as Cape Town, eThekwini, Joburg and Tshwane.
Highlighted throughout the auditor-general’s report were widespread procurement violations – 94 percent of the R9.82 billion irregular expenditure related to the flouting of procedures, such as those requiring three quotes for the inviting of competitive bidders to submit tenders.
Also highlighted was the lack of consequences for wrongdoing – including senior managers and councillors doing business with their municipalities, or failing to disclose their financial interests.
The DA’s spokesman on co-operative governance, John Steenhuisen, welcomed the proposals.
“Now that the regulations have been tabled, the minister must ensure they become effective without any further delay,” he said, adding that it had taken two years for the regulations to reach Parliament.
Tahir Sema, spokesman for the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), also welcomed the proposals, saying such issues had been raised by the trade union in discussions with the ministry.
“We would support these (regulations). We have been calling for a long time that when a senior manager is found guilty of breaches, of committing corruption, he or she should not be recycled to another municipality,” he said.
The regulations allow for senior managers found guilty of misconduct to be dismissed without notice, if the council has complied with the Labour Relations Act. They outline recruitment procedures, like mandatory checks on references and qualifications, and minimum competencies, including customer management, ethics, political astuteness, alongside financial management, organisation and planning, “critical thinking” and conflict resolution.
According to the draft regulations, a municipal manager must have a degree in public administration, political science, social science or law, and between five and eight years’ experience.
A municipal chief financial officer must hold a degree in accounting, finance or economics, and be registered with the relevant professional body, in addition to having between five and seven years’ experience.
The regulations were tabled in Parliament yesterday before publication for public comment in the Government Gazette, as required by the Municipal Systems Act.
This comes before the Public Administration Management Bill, which will bring all public servants under the same umbrella of norms and standards, and employment conditions.