eThekwini city manager Sbu Sithole

Beware of recruitment scams requesting money as eThekwini employs on merit, skills and work ethic, writes Sibusiso Sithole.

Durban - With a staff complement of over 23 000 employees serving 3.4 million residents, eThekwini Municipality prides itself on the fact that there are few other organisations where you will find such a diverse range of expertise.

The municipality follows a fair and transparent recruitment process.

Our employment policies and practices are committed to developing a multi-cultural and diverse workforce that is non-racist, non-sexist, and non-discriminatory.

In accordance with our employment policy we ensure that eThekwini’s workforce is employed based on merit, high skills levels and high work ethic in order to provide the public with the best service possible.

However, despite the municipality’s rigorous recruitment process, there has been an increase in the number of reported cases involving unsuspecting individuals who have fallen victim to fraudulent advertisements titled “Municipal Vacancies”.

Over the past two years four members of the public have been arrested after being caught accepting money from individuals in exchange for a non-existing job.

The arrests were made in separate sting operations involving members of the metro police and investigators from the City Integrity and Investigations Unit.

These sting operations are successful if the victims come forward to report their suspicion to the municipality before making a payment.

Hundreds of cases go unreported because members of the public are scared to report these scams when told that they too are committing a criminal offence by paying someone to secure a job.

The most recent case reported to the City Integrity and Investigations Unit, still being probed, involves 11 women from Nkandla and Eshowe. Like most jobs-for-sale scams, these women were told to pay a fee to secure a job through “internal connections”.

The women claim they each paid R3 000 as a down payment. A further R3 000 was to be paid after securing employment in the Municipality’s Human Settlements Unit.

The sad reality dawned that they had been scammed when they arrived at the Human Settlements offices in Shell House to report for duty but were told that there were no vacancies.

The perpetrators use aliases instead of their real names and claim to have connections with officials in the upper echelon.

They even give out names of heads of departments who are employees of the city, thus making their elaborate scheme seem legitimate.

But they change their cellphone numbers as soon as they receive payments and move on to their next victims. And so the vicious cycle continues.

As local government, we wish to clarify that the municipality does not charge the public to apply for any advertised post.

Most of the complaints being investigated are from people who have applied for jobs advertised by the municipality. They allege that after submitting their job application they received a phone call from someone pretending to work for the municipality.

This person then makes reference to the job application and offers to ensure that the applicant gets appointed.

Applicants have been charged amounts ranging from R300 to R6 000.

The scammer usually asks that the money be paid through the moneymarkets operated by retail chain stores or handed over in cash. After paying, the applicants never hear from the scam artist again.

We appeal to the public not to respond to any of the recruitment advertisements where an applicant is required to pay. Any applicant who pays to secure a job is engaging in an unlawful act.

The municipality’s medium-term five-year Integrated Development Plan is the city’s main planning strategy framework through which the city aims to achieve its vision of being the most liveable city in Africa. The key components of this strategy are meeting basic needs of residents, strengthening the economy and building skills and technology.

To ensure the success of local government, it is critical that stringent recruitment and selection tools are implemented as part of endeavours to employ the right people with the necessary competencies and attributes in order to accelerate service delivery.

Therefore, the manner in which these recruitment and selection processes are developed and implemented ultimately determines whether the municipality will have the ability to achieve its set strategic goals and objectives.

To this end, the municipality is constantly seeking hardworking, innovative and skilled staff.

Job seekers are urged to follow the correct procedures when applying for a job. Funded and approved vacancies are advertised every second Friday in the municipality’s Staff Vacancy Circular which is placed on municipal notice boards, and is published in the municipal publication – eZasegagasini Metro newspaper and the Municipal website, www.durban.gov.za.

Applications can be submitted via e-mail or to the postal or physical address provided in the advertisement.

An interview panel is appointed by the unit concerned and all applications received by the stipulated deadline date are considered by the panel.

The panel compiles a shortlist of applicants and interviews, and where applicable, tests are conducted to select the successful candidate.

The municipality’s employment criteria clearly stipulate that priority will be given to applicants who are under-represented in terms of race, gender and disability within the occupational level of any respective advertised posts.

The false perception that the municipality only employs family members of politically connected individuals needs to be corrected.

Canvassing of councillors or officials for any council position will lead to the disqualification of applicants.

If anyone has been asked to pay a bribe to secure a municipal job or has information that only politically connected individuals are employed by the city, I urge them to report this to the City Integrity and Investigations Unit at 0800 20 20 20 and the South African Police Service at 10111.

* Sibusiso Sithole is the city manager of eThekwini Municipality.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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