A claim by the ANC that the Western Cape legislature is pursuing a campaign to purge African senior managers from the administration has been rubbished. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town - A claim by the ANC that the Western Cape provincial government is pursuing a campaign to purge African senior managers from the administration has been rubbished by the DA, which has denied any such motive.

In separate statements, Premier Alan Winde, Human Settlements MEC Tertuis Simmers and the DA Western Cape spokesperson on Human Settlements, Matlhodi Maseko defended the provincial government’s record on employment equity as being “merit-based” and accused the leader of the opposition in the legislature, Cameron Dugmore, of being “irresponsible, opportunistic and racist”.

Dugmore had asked the premier to “confirm or deny” a report about the decision not to reappoint Human Settlements’ Thando Nguli, the only African head of a department in the province.

The premier responded: “In line with our policies, a robust and rigorous process was used to determine the best candidate for this position and as it turns out, a woman of colour has been selected for this role.”

While confirming that Nguli’s contract would end on December 31 after it was extended from September 30, Simmers said: “Jacqueline Samson, the department’s current chief director of planning, will take over as the new head.

“Dugmore’s statement is irresponsible and smacks of opportunism. 

“Instead of driving a racial narrative, he ought to celebrate the appointment and advancement of an esteemed local woman of colour into this critical position, as she has already proven her worth and ability in her current role,” added Simmers.

Maseko said: “The ANC must ask themselves whether coloured South Africans are African enough to be appointed in senior government positions.”

Dugmore said the ANC were concerned that there was an ongoing DA campaign to purge African senior managers from the Western Cape administration and that the party would approach the Public Service Commission to investigate the provincial government for failing in its duty to implement employment equity.

“The ANC wants an inclusive and representative senior management, drawn from all communities, coloured, African, white and Indian,” said Dugmore. Pointing to statistics, he said: “The ANC has worked hard to achieve a more representative senior management in the province during 2004 to 2009. 

“In 2009, the breakdown of senior managers was coloured 40%, African 22%, Indian 4% and white 34%. After just 10 years of DA government in 2017/18 the number of African senior managers has dropped to 10%.”

Simmers said that Samson’s appointment had followed “a transparent and rigorous application and interview process in which she scored highest”. 

“Not only is Samson highly qualified, holding a BA degree in geography and psychology with an honours in geography, she also completed a Master;s degree in town and regional planning at Stellenbosch University in 1993.”

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Cape Argus