Picture: James Mahlokwane
Picture: James Mahlokwane

Samwu demanding answers on Tshwane chief of staff's qualifications

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published May 16, 2018

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PRETORIA – The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) on Wednesday said it had written to City of Tshwane’s city manager and the city’s group head responsible for the human capital department seeking answers on whether Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga’s chief of staff, Marietha Aucamp is adequately qualified for the senior post.

“We have since written a letter to the city manager and Group Head: Human Capital department to confirm whether Ms Aucamp is properly qualified or not. It will indeed be a sad day to discover that Ms Aucamp did not meet stipulated requirements. This will amount to fraudulent appointment considering that many qualifying candidates were not considered,” said Samwu’s Tshwane regional secretary Mpho Tladinyane.

“This will also be in contravention of the regulations that properly state that whoever is shortlisted should meet specific MFMA (Municipal Finance Management Act) unit standards. Waiver will only be applied if there is no qualifying candidates. If indeed it is true that the chief of staff does not meet requirements, the said appointment should be reversed and the city be reimbursed all payments made to the unqualified Marietha Aucamp.”

Tladinyane said Samwu will also demand action against the senior Tshwane officials who were involved in Aucamp’s interview for the job, and her appointment.

“We will also be demanding that those we were involved in the interview panel and subsequent appointment of Ms. Aucamp be held criminally liable for this fraudulent appointment. Samwu will always ensure that all recruitments processes are fair and just and all applicants are treated the same. We will not allow any political deployment that seeks to undermine staffing policy,” he said.

Samwu insists the advert for the chief of staff position clearly stipulated the requirements, which included a Bachelor’s degree.

“The advert clearly indicated that candidates should meet some of the following requirements - a Bachelor’s degree, 12 years’ experience with five years at senior management level, and that candidates must comply with MFMA unit standards as prescribed by Regulation 493 of 15 June 2007,” said Tladinyane.

Earlier on Wednesday, Tshwane announced that Aucamp had been placed on special leave following media reports stating that she did not have adequate qualifications for her job.

READ: Tshwane places chief of staff on special leave amid qualifications scandal

“The City of Tshwane wishes to set the record straight regarding media reports that seek to suggest that the executive mayor of Tshwane, Councillor Solly Msimanga, participated in - and implicitly condoned the alleged flouting of the law to favour the appointment of the chief of staff in his office Marietha Aucamp. Aucamp applied and was shortlisted for the vacant position of Chief of Staff in October 2016 and was selected as the most suitable candidate for appointment,” said Selby Bokaba, Tshwane’s executive director for strategic communications. 

Bokaba said Aucamp “came out highest on the panel members’ scores”. 

The panel members consisted of Msimanga, MMC for corporate and shared services Cilliers Brink and former acting city manager Lindiwe Kwele.

“After the interviewing process, Aucamp was sent for a department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs supervised assessment for senior managers in November 2016. Information has since surfaced in the media purporting to show that Aucamp indicated in the assessment form that she was in possession of a B:Tech degree. Neither in her application form for the position nor in her CV did she state that she was in possession of any post matric qualification,” said Bokaba.

“It sounds illogical and irrational for any applicant who was shortlisted, interviewed and scored highest in the interview as well as in the assessment to claim to possess qualifications she didn’t have. While it’s advantageous for the candidate to be in possession of the required qualification, it however doesn’t preclude a candidate in the political office to be considered for the position without having the relevant qualification, as what is required is experience and grasp of local government. As Chief Whip [of the Democratic Alliance], Aucamp has the managerial experience of 16 years.” 

Bokaba said Msimanga’s spokesperson Samkelo Mgobozi had erred in his response to a News24 enquiry around the saga.

“The spokesperson for Msimanga, Samkelo Mgobozi, in response to a media enquiry from News24 mistakenly denied that Msimanga was involved in the selection process. At the time when he responded he wasn’t appraised of all the facts,” said Bokaba.

“The Executive Mayor has requested the city manager to conduct an urgent investigation into this matter and Aucamp has since been placed on special leave.”

News24 reported that Aucamp landed the R1.2m per year job despite not having the required qualifications. According to the report, the job advert required that the candidates have a bachelor's degree or equivalent qualification.

Aucamp has previously worked as the chief whip of the Democratic Alliance in the Tshwane metro. Her references on her short CV reportedly include the DA's federal chairperson James Selfe.

African News Agency/ANA

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