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Nehawu pickets over transparency

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The pickets followed after several requests for a meeting with management, to address issues regarding the appointment of staff and political deployments, were ignored

DEMANDING TRANSPARENCY: Nehawu members who are employed at the McGregor Museum, Mayibuye Centre, Provincial Archives and other centres of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, picketed outside the departments head office in Kimberley on Friday. They have accused the department of not being transparent when appointing people to positions. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE NATIONAL Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) has accused the Northern Cape Department of Sport, Arts and Culture of not being transparent when appointing people to positions.

Nehawu members who are employed at the McGregor Museum, the Mayibuye Centre, the Provincial Archives and other centres of the department, picketed outside the department’s head office in Kimberley on Friday.

The acting secretary of the Nehawu branch in the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, John Pienaar, said that the pickets followed after several requests for a meeting with management, to address issues regarding the appointment of staff and political deployments, were ignored.

“We have been requesting a meeting with the head of department (HOD) for several months now. The HOD just refuses to meet with us. The last meeting we had with the HOD was in October last year. There are many issues and challenges that have been raised by our members, but management is just not coming to the party,” said Pienaar.

He added that Nehawu members had complained that deployments are the order of the day at the department.

“There are many irregular appointments being made within the department. There are many ANC members who just report for duty without the posts they are appointed to being advertised. There is no consideration for qualifications when appointments are made, as some people who merely have a matric are appointed into high-ranking positions. This is very worrisome as it blocks entry for those who may be eligible to do the job.”

Pienaar also claimed that the department is not appointing Nehawu members into permanent positions.

“The majority of our members are contract workers. We want workers to be absorbed into the department, but the department claimed that it does not have the funds to do so. This is not true, as the department appointed two chief directors about two months ago. If they do not have the money to appoint people into permanent posts, where did the funds for those two posts come from,” he asked.

Pienaar said that the union members would continue with pickets until their demands are met.

Spokesperson for the department, Conrad Fortune, said that the allegations made by Nehawu were untrue.

Due processes

“When vacant funded posts are filled in the department, we follow all due processes related to the recruitment of officials as guided by the Public Service Act and Public Service Regulations. The vacancies are advertised in the local media as well as on the DPSA Portal, thereby ensuring that the majority of South Africans are provided with the opportunity to apply for the vacancy.

“The vacancies are then filled based on the experience, qualifications and relevant knowledge related to the advertised vacancy.

“As a department we are cognisant of these regulations and we commend ourselves for ensuring that all our appointments are done in a transparent and accountable manner.

“Currently, before departments advertise vacancies, it is first approved by the Office of the Premier and the Department of Finance, which verifies whether there are funds available and, secondly, if it is indeed a critical vacancy. This is the process that was followed when we filled the vacancy of the two chief directors in the department,” Fortune said.

He also rubbished claims that appointments were made on the basis of political affiliation.

“The member of the executive council is responsible for all appointments within the department and this is done once all recruitment processes have been completed by the administration and consultation has been done. Therefore, it is irresponsible and unwarranted that allegations and accusations are made indicating that the appointments are political in nature.”

Fortune stated that the department had met with the union regarding the issues it raised.

“The department has met on several occasions with members of the union, where we had open and frank discussions on the concerns raised. Some of the matters have been finalised and we are in the process of finalising some of the outstanding issues.

“This is a process that cannot be done overnight and there are certain processes which must be followed to ensure the implementation of sound and prudent governance,” Fortune said.