Pretoria - Tshwane council speaker Dr Murunwa Makwarela has courted fresh controversy by hiring three senior officials in his office without following the metro’s staffing recruitment policy.
The SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), which blew the whistle about the appointments in question, has given the acting city manager Mmaseabata Mutlaneng a five-day ultimatum to reverse them or face legal action.
The union said it was taken by surprise when the three key appointments were announced in an internal staff memo, dated May 5, despite the fact that they were never advertised.
One of the top posts, which was filled, was that of former group head in the speaker’s office, Tiyiselani Babane, who has claimed that Makwarela had been embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal while working for the Joburg fresh produce market.
Babane, who left the office last month after his contract expired, also made other damning allegations, including that Makwarela failed to disclose to council that he was placed on suspension because of the sexual abuse allegations.
Makwarela, Cope’s sole councillor in Tshwane, had flatly denied the allegations. However, the council had since resolved to institute a 60-day investigation to ascertain the veracity of the allegations made against the speaker.
Two other appointments were that of director in the speaker’s private office and executive secretary to the speaker, occupied by Justice Sefanyetso and Tebogo Makgale, respectively.
Makwarela said: “The speaker doesn’t make appointments. The city manager does.”
At the time of going to print, the City had yet to respond to a request for comment.
The union’s regional secretary, Mpho Tladinyane, said it was concerned that such appointments appeared to have flouted the staffing collective agreement signed between the employer and unions in 2008 to regulate employment of municipal staff.
The collective agreement stated that parties should jointly monitor employment practices and compliance with staffing principles and consistency in applying such. “It is unfortunate the acting city manager affirmed appointments in the office of the speaker without following the signed staffing policy,” Tladinyane said.
He called on Mutlaneng to reverse the appointments in five days, adding that the union “reserves its right to seek relief at an appropriate forum if the City fails to do so”.