The main opposition party in the district claimed that the process of appointing the municipal manager had “serious flaws” and was irregular.
IFP provincial secretary Velenkosini Hlabisa said the mayor, Solomon Mkhombe, chairing the interview panel, was a reference on the resumé of the preferred candidate.
“The mayor did not disclose the relationship between him and his referee, nor did he excuse himself from the panel,” Hlabisa said.
He said the recommended candidate came second in the interview processes.
“This meant that the process was not fair to other candidates and procedurally flawed,” Hlabisa explained.
Mkhombe denied the allegations.
“The regulation on appointment of senior managers is that whoever is involved, in the process of appointing, must disclose blood relationships and or business interests.
“I am neither of the two. I was his supervisor as mayor of uMhlabuyalingana where he is municipal manager,” Mkhombe explained.
Mkhombe did not deny that the candidate, Sibusiso Bukhosini, came second in the interview, but said he was the only competent candidate according to psychometric tests.
“Interviews can be subjective but there was no nepotism because a process, conducted by an independent psychologist, found him to be competent ahead of the rest,” he added.
Bukhosini said the IFP interpreted his relationship with Mkhombe incorrectly.
“As my former immediate supervisor, he was the best person to speak on my professional capabilities,” he said.
The IFP also expressed fears that Bukhosini was appointed “fraudulently to hide something”.
But Bukhosini did not take kindly to the accusations.
“I have a verified clean governance record of two clean audits at uMhlabuyalingana as a municipal manager. These are unfounded, frivolous allegations,” he protested.
Mkhombe said the district was waiting for a go ahead from the minister and MEC of co-operative governance and traditional affairs to finalise the process.
However, Hlabisa said the party had written to MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube challenging the appointment.
Dube-Ncube’s spokesperson, Lennox Mabaso, said the department had not received the letter from the IFP.