Official's bid for top job makes councillors fume

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Johannesburg - Dikeledi Thindisa, under investigation for recommending the “unlawful and improper” awarding of a R52 million contract to On-Point Engineering company, has been earmarked for a high-profile position at the City of Polokwane.

The Star understands that the Limpopo Roads and Transport Department’s chief financial officer has been recommended for a similar position by the municipality’s interviewing panel.

This has angered councillors who vowed to oppose her appointment during next week’s council sitting.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela revealed that Thindisa had recommended that former department head Ntau Letebele approve the contract for the company, in which expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema had shares.

In a report last year, Madonsela asked the police’s Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation - known as the Hawks - to probe whether Letebele, Thindisa and the members of the bid evaluation and bid adjudication committees had relations with On-Point representatives.

She said On-Point’s bid should have been disqualified because an invalid tax clearance certificate had been submitted.

Thindisa’s possible move to Polokwane has now caused ructions.

Executive mayor Freddy Greaver admitted that Thindisa was among three candidates who had been interviewed for the position.

“What I can confirm is that the person in question is among those the agency brought to Polokwane, not to me,” said Greaver.

He said no one on the panel had raised concerns about the fact that Thindisa was under investigation.

“We could not bar anyone from being interviewed unless there is guilt on their part,” said Greaver.

Last month, the council mandated Greaver to head-hunt a suitable candidate. But he said the office of the municipal manager had contracted a recruitment agency to help fill the vacancy.

Greaver said the interviewing panel had been made up of himself, the municipal manager, and officials from the national Treasury and the provincial Co-operative Governance Department.

He declined to disclose the panel’s recommendations, but said it would be presented to the council for either approval or disapproval next week.

Greaver said he was also waiting for advice from Madonsela’s office.

“If she tells me this person has a case to answer, that she will jeopardise the investigation (at the transport department), I can tell you categorically now that she will not be appointed,” said Greaver.

He added he had consulted Madonsela “because it was the responsible thing to do”.

Meanwhile, Sapa reported on Thursday that Letebele’s appointment as chief executive officer of Great North Transport in Limpopo had been cancelled.

“The appointment happened on January 16. But today, after reviewing all the processes that were followed… we terminated the contract,” Great North Transport chairman Muthuhadini Madzivhandila said.

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