Pretoria - The council of the ANC-dominated Emfuleni Local Municipality has resolved to take on legal review the appointments of staff in political offices following allegations of jobs for pals, involving officials in the offices of the mayor, council speaker and chief whip.
The implicated officials, Jabu Khumalo in the mayoral office, Matshepo Mtumbo for the speaker's office, and Jabu Dlamini in the chief whip’s office, were appointed two weeks before last year’s November municipal elections.
In December last year, the Pretoria News reported about the criticism levelled by the DA against the ANC-run municipality for securing jobs for pals before the local government elections.
This was despite a directive from the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma they must be vacated because they were linked to the political term of office, according to DA MPL Kingsol Chabalala, who raised the matter at the Gauteng legislature.
This week, the DA revisited the matter by asking Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Lebogang Maile to update the House about the investigation he promised to institute into the allegations last year.
Maile, however, said the investigation was never carried out because the municipality decided to take legal steps to remedy the situation.
“The MEC has written a letter to the mayor, asking him to explain why we shouldn’t investigate and the mayor (Sipho Radebe) has responded accordingly,” Maile said.
He said following the mayor’s response, the department decided not to go ahead with its investigation.
The mayor had indicated that Emfuleni local municipality council resolved on February 28, 2022, to approach the Labour Court to adjudicate on the disputes over contracts of the staff in the political office extended before the end of the previous political term of office. Maile said the legal review process was currently under way. “So the municipality is actually acting. The reason why we were going to investigate was because we thought that there was no action but now has taken action,” he said.
The officials, he said, were still employed because they have contracts with the municipality.
Last year, the DA alleged the political support office positions were advertised two weeks before the elections, but were later withdrawn. Notwithstanding the withdrawn advertisements, the appointments were allegedly secretly made, and some political staff members had their contracts extended before the elections.
At the time, Chabalala said: “There are allegations that those advertised positions were extended before the elections and this raises great concern, considering that is illegal. The standard legal procedure requires the Emfuleni Local Municipality human resources department to advertise the post after the election of the new administration which entails the mayor, speaker, and chief whip.”
He claimed that failure by Emfuleni to follow the legal standards of employment recruitments indicated that “the ANC wanted to secure jobs for their pals considering the nature these positions are party affiliated”.
The criticisms against Emfuleni’s political appointments resurfaced at the time when the DA-led coalition in Tshwane was accused by the regional SA Municipal Workers Union of hiring three political appointees in the speaker’s office without following the staffing collective agreement signed between the employer and unions in 2008 to regulate employment of municipal staff.
The union said the city was wrong in failing to advertise the three posts and for not conducting interviews.
City spokesperson Selby Bokaba defended the decision: “The relevant policy in this regard is the Tshwane Metropolitan Council approved policy on the appointment of staff in the offices of political office-bearers. This policy is different to the staffing policy that applies to all other employees.”