BCM and Bhisho clash over top job recruitments

A cold war is brewing between the province and the city over the appointment of four municipal directors.

Buffalo City Metro council endorsed the four crucial appointments earlier last month of Neo Moerane as director of municipal services; Noludwe Ncokazi as head of economic development and agencies; Vuyani Lwana as health and public safety head and Sandile Booi as director of human settlements.

Moerane, the former Social Development MEC, is supposed to head the department responsible for refuse removal, among other things – an issue that still remains a big problem within the metro.

The empasse between cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC Fikile Xasa’s office and BCM mayor Alfred Mtsi means that BCM will continue to have no one at the helm of the department responsible for sanitation and collection of household rubbish.

At the centre of the dispute is the council’s decision to assign three councillors, instead of two, to serve on the interviewing panel.

Xasa’s contention is that there was no representative from Cogta on the panel, as required by law.

The Dispatch can reveal that Mtsi wrote a letter on March 7 asking Xasa to approve the four appointments, but the MEC has not.

Mtsi then sent a reminder to Xasa dated March 24, in which he pleaded for feedback about “the request for concurrence”.

Two of the positions have been vacant since 2013, while others are newly created positions following the adoption of a new organogram in the same year.

In it Mtsi made reference to a comment by the Auditor-General in his report on BCM finances at the end of June 2015 that “commitments made by leadership to fill critical senior and middle management positions were not met”.

“The continued absence of permanent officials to lead and guide the municipality compromised the effectiveness and stability of the control environment,” the mayor wrote.

“Noting that we are fast approaching the end of 2015-16 financial year, and a repeat finding of the AG as referred above should be avoided.”

But Xasa confirmed yesterday he would not approve the appointments until due process had been followed.

He said his main concern was that the panel was not legally constituted, and that this had happened in at least three other cases.

“In fact no Cogta official formed part of that panel even though the legislation states clearly that we must form part of the panel. I wrote to the mayor and informed him about my concerns,” said Xasa.

But Mtsi’s spokesman Sibusiso Cindi said the mayor’s office has yet to receive Xasa’s response.

On whether BCM felt the panel was properly constituted, Cindi said he was “not content to engage the MEC in the media on the appointment of BCM directors”.

“Rather, we would like the office of the executive mayor and the MEC to discuss this privately in the spirit of intergovernmental relations,” said Cindi.

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