City of Cape Town Executive Mayor Dan Plato, together with Mayoral Committee Member, Alderman JP Smith. Picture:Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA).
Cape Town - The city council is engaged in a fresh fight over a “jobs for pals” scandal implicating the Department of Safety and Security’s JP Smith and Richard Bosman.

This emerged after its first meeting for the year on Thursday.

A confidential report on allegations of “nepotism and abuse of power” has been leaked to the media and irate workers and opposition political parties are pressing the DA-led council to take action against implicated officials.

The ANC and the South African Municipal Workers’ Union said the city was attempting to “sweep under the carpet” a report by law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr which found that the process of appointing former policeman Petrus Robberts to a senior position in Law Enforcement was irregular, defective and inconsistent with the human resources policy.

The ANC has called on Robberts to vacate the position and for tough action to be taken against those involved in his employment, Smith and Bosman.

“Heads must roll. We will take the report to the public and show them the corruption at the city. There’s an attempt by the DA majority in the council to sweep the report under the carpet by disregarding its recommendations for action to be taken against those involved. We cannot allow that to happen,” leader of the ANC caucus in council Xolani Sotashe said.

The report showed email correspondence between Bosman, Smith and Robberts in relation to Robberts’ offer even before the creation of the position.

“It is apparent... from the emails... that an offer appears to have been made to Robberts of the position of director and this email precedes the date that the creation of the position was approved by mayco and subsequently advertised,” the report said.

Other findings based on the evidence submitted, which included emails and interviews by Smith, Bosman, Sotashe and other council officials, point to:

 - political pressure in the appointment of Robberts.

- meetings held in the former mayor’s office to discuss the appointment of Robberts, a former Nyanga Cluster commander and a major-general in the police. Those present included Patricia de Lille and former Western Cape police commissioner Mzwandile Petros and the former city manager Achmat Ebrahim.

- that Robberts was not happy with the initial position that was mentioned and had insisted that he had applied for a senior position within the SAPS, but but Ebrahim was reluctant to create the position of director for him.

- irregularity in that discussions were held with a prospective candidate prior to a position being made.

- Bosman breaching certain sections of the code of conduct.

“In terms of the code of conduct, municipal staff members are required to perform the functions of office in good faith, honestly and in a transparent manner and act in the best interest of the city in such a way that the credibility and integrity of the municipality is not compromised”, the report noted.

It said, according to Bosman, Ebrahim “shot down” the idea because he was concerned that Smith was pushing for a specific candidate to be appointed in the position.

“We find it highly irregular for a meeting to have been convened in the executive mayor’s office prior to the position being created and to have discussed matters such as salary and benefits with Robberts prior to the position even existing.”

The report said while Smith had sought to insist he had merely encouraged Robberts to apply for the position, he had failed to explain why he encouraged him to apply for a position that did not exist at the time.

It also recommended that the council speaker institute an investigation into the conduct of Smith in the “irregular” appointment of Robberts and that disciplinary proceedings be instituted against Bosman.

Council speaker Dirk Smit said the report was only “for noting” and took note of the “lesser transgression” by Bosman.

Regarding Smith, he said there was no new evidence which would have warranted action, but that his office would “accumulate” and welcome any new evidence which he would use to decide what the next steps would be.

But Smith may not be off the hook yet.

Another damning decision was taken by the council in December authorising the city manager to appoint an independent investigator to look into the allegations regarding the selection and recruitment of his former secretary into a senior position as regional inspector within Safety and Security.

Smit would not answer questions related to the matter and referred them to city manager Lungelo Mbandazayo.

The city failed to respond to questions by the time of publication.

This it is not the first time allegations of nepotism or cadre deployment in the city have surfaced.

Former mayoral committee member Brett Herron accused the council of elevating certain people.

“Cadre deployment is rife and party loyalists are gratuitously embedded in the professional administration,”he charged.

Weekend Argus