Opposition parties in Buffalo City Metro (BCM) have won the battle to have their say in who gets to be appointed to senior administration posts.
This after council agreed to include them on shortlisting and interviewing panels to appoint executive directors in four directorates.
Initially only councillors from the ruling ANC were given the nod to sit in these panels.
However, a confidential report presented in council last Wednesday by mayor Alfred Mtsi, of which the Daily Dispatch has seen a copy, shows the ANC-led council has succumbed to pressure to include opposition councillors in the process.
This after a motion was presented in a December council meeting by the DA’s caucus leader Terence Fritz, pleading to allow opposition members be part of the process.
Fritz said yesterday opposition parties had been part of panels that appointed other directors, “but we were surprised when we were excluded from these latest panels”.
“However, we put our foot down and demanded inclusion. So we are pleased they obliged,” said Fritz.
The four directorates – municipal services, health and public safety, economic services as well as human settlements – have been without permanent administration heads for years and have all been touched by controversy.
Allegations include that the ANC in the region has tried to influence who was to be appointed to these lucrative and influential posts.
In October 2014 it was reported that the South African Communist Party’s Skenjana Roji district leadership had raised concerns about what it called “irregular” and “undue political interference” in the appointment of executive directors at BCM.
At the time the party claimed the “undue interference” came from some regional ANC politicians “who placed their personal enrichment ambitions first”.
The district’s secretary Boyce Melitafa said then that such political interference had led to the removal of two former mayoral committee councillors and SACP members – Nomiki Mgezi and Rufus Rwexu – from their positions because they both allegedly refused to rubber-stamp interference.
Rwexu was a portfolio head of health and public safety, while Mgezi headed human settlements.
Mgezi has been retained in her mayoral committee post, while Rwexu remains an ordinary councillor.
Mtsi’s report shows that municipal services portfolio head and ANC councillor Sangweni Matwele will head the panel recruiting for this directorate.
ANC councillors Mawethu Marata and Mlandeli Mateke will also be on the panel. They will now be joined by Monwabisi Quse of the African Christian Democratic Party.
The report states that the health and public safety panel will be led by its portfolio head Helen Neale-May, while the provincial transport department’s administration head, Irene Mpolweni, will be an external representative.
Rwexu and his ANC comrade Sindile Toni will also be on that panel, while the African Independent Congress’ Vuyisile Diko will represent opposition parties.
The report also states that the economic services panel will be led by ANC’s Phumla Nazo, with Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism chief executive Vuyani Dayimani an external representative.
ANC councillors Parmanundan Naicker and Kolisile Mpupusi will be joined by the DA’s Jan Smit as part of that panel.
The report says Mgezi will head the human settlement panel, with provincial public works department HOD Advocate James Mlawu being an external stakeholder.
Mgezi will be joined by her ANC counterparts Monwabisi Mahodi and Vimbile Mbinqo, while the DA’s Zolani Bakawuli will represent opposition parties.
Attempts to get comment from Mtsi proved fruitless at the time of writing, while metro spokesman Keith Ngesi refused to discuss the matter, saying it was still confidential.