Cape Town - Opposition parties in the City of Cape Town have questioned political appointments in the mayor’s office, saying that posts have been created as “jobs for pals” of the incumbent DA.

Speaking during this week’s full council meeting, Andre Fourie of the Freedom Front Plus said Paul Boughey, who used to be the DA’s director of communication, was not afraid to tackle political opponents, despite being an official in the mayor’s office. He also raised a red flag about the appointment of Tim Harris, the DA’s former spokesman on finance in Parliament, asking: “Does anyone know what his package is?”

He also wanted to know what former DA councillor Owen Kinahan’s position was at the city.

“Down the passage is an office-suite with a secretary and the name of the former councillor, but no one knows what his post entails or when he was last at work.”

Also under scrutiny was Gerard Ras, who started off as a mayoral committee member in the metro before he was moved to the George municipality as acting municipal manager.

The former ID stalwart and confidant of Patricia de Lille was then appointed to head the city’s newly created directorate of compliance and auxiliary services.

“Between her… and Ras, they control the city politically,” said Fourie.

The debate was sparked by an item dealing with the employment contracts for politically appointed staff.

Fourie said the recommendation that political staff’s contracts had to be aligned with the term of the municipal council, not exceeding three months after the inception of the new council, gave the mayor a “blank cheque”.

“Political appointments are now made for the full term of the council, plus three months, irrespective of what her political future may be.”

The contracts of other political appointees for mayoral committee members, the Speaker and others were linked to the term of the respective councillors.

Fourie demanded to know whether the political appointees in De Lille’s office were “officials in the true sense of the word” or were they “indirectly officials of the DA”, because “some of them are very outspoken about political issues”.

Achmat Williams, of the New National Party, said the compliance and auxiliary services directorate, or “super department”, was created last year despite widespread concern within council about its purpose.

DA councillor Demetri Qually said the item being considered dealt purely with the terms of office and not the details of contracts.

However the mayor’s office said on Thursday that Boughey was a political appointee who supported the mayor in the execution of her electoral mandate. Both Harris and Ras were appointed in line with council and legal processes.

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Cape Argus