By Troye Lund
Cape Town mayor Nomaindia Mfeketo's office is in a shambles.
This emerges from a report - commissioned by Mfeketo herself - which has found that the mayoral office was "unaccountable, undisciplined, full of interpersonal conflict and administratively dysfunctional".
Stunned by the unsparing findings, released at the council's monthly meeting on Thursday, opposition parties commended Mfeketo for commissioning the internal inquiry.
But they questioned her political motives when they saw that the report emphasised a need to expand the traditional ceremonial role of a mayor to one that provides strategic civic leadership.
When the Democratic Party (DP) suggested that a decision on this restructuring plan be deferred for a month until questions on the mayor's office that were tabled last year had been answered, Mfeketo made a passionate appeal for the opposition's support in this matter.
She said: "People outside are beginning to talk about the shortcomings of the mayor's office. I am concerned, it is my integrity at stake. I am unable to do my job because my office is not functioning properly."
After warning the opposition not to force her to get the plan passed by putting it to the vote in the African National Congress-led chamber, she said: "I get daily phone calls from angry people wanting to know why I never sent an RSVP... to invitations I never knew existed.
"Appointments and events are planned without my knowing about them," Mfeketo complained.
The report said that staff had no "properly conceptualised" jobs and that a lack of "robust management" exacerbated problems.
New National Party councillor Clive Justus said: "How can we expect high morale in the lower organs of the administration when the head is rotting?
"This restructuring must not be a costly case of rearranging the chairs on the Titanic."
DP councillor Belinda Walker welcomed any move to improve efficiency but questioned radical restructuring and redefining of mayoral roles 10 months before an election that would amalgamate all local councils into a megacity.
This was announced by Saleem Mowzer, chairperson of the City of Cape Town's executive committee, at the council's meeting yesterday. UCT will confer a doctor of laws degree in June.