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Union slams appointment of ex-mayor

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“Our aim is to see a clean, efficient, transparent and corrupt-free public sector and we will do anything in our power to ensure this goal is achieved.”

THE NATIONAL Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has condemned the appointment of the former mayor of Siyathemba Municipality in Prieska, Howard Tsume, as assistant director for institutional services in the Department of Public Works.

Tsume resigned from his position as mayor last year.

According to the provincial secretary of Nehawu, Steffen Cornelius, Tsume occupied the position of assistant director in December despite allegedly not holding the qualifications required.

“Howard Tsume does not meet the requirements of the post that, amongst other things, requires a Grade 12, relevant diploma and or degree, five to 10 years’ relevant experience, knowledge of supply chain management and HR procedure and processes, research and analytical skills and a driving licence.”

Cornelius said that the position was also never advertised and that the former mayor is appointed into two positions.

“The post was never advertised as per the regulations of the Department of Public Service and Administration, which clearly is against discriminating or precluding suitable candidates from applying. This is being done despite the fact that there was someone who has acted in this position since 2017. This is in violation of the Public Service Regulation of 2016 (67) which states ‘Provisions regarding a head hunting process regulated. Important: head hunting is only permissible in instances where the normal recruitment process is completed and no suitable candidate was identified’.

“We are also aware that the former mayor has since December 2019 till to date been receiving two salaries, one for the illegal post of assistant director at Public Works, and the another post where he is still a full-time ward councillor in the Siyathemba Municipality. Chapter 2 of the Public Service Regulation in C.5.5 clearly states that an employee does not, without approval, undertake remunerative work outside her or his official duties or use office equipment for such work,” said Cornelius.

He added that the appointment was an attempt to exempt Tsume from an investigation into alleged financial misconduct.

“As Nehawu, we view the appointment very seriously as it was done by the department in an attempt to protect the former mayor from possible disciplinary actions by council. We were informed that the former mayor was on the verge of being charged after a preliminary investigation report by the department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) suggested that he was in breach of the Municipal Finance Management Act by allegedly opening a separate bank account without the approval of council. This was done after council took a resolution that the former mayor be investigated for possible financial misconduct,” Cornelius said.

“We have since written to the department, demanding that this illegal decision be reversed or face a total withdrawal of services by Nehawu members at the Department of Public Works.

“This has now started to be the norm in the department as there have been two previous appointments for the cronies of the MEC that were never advertised – one for project manager, which is not even on the organogram of the department. This happens despite the district management submission for the absorption of three contract workers by the department.

“Our aim is to see a clean, efficient, transparent and corrupt-free public sector and we will do anything in our power to ensure this goal is achieved.”

The spokesperson for the Department of Public Works, Crystal Robertson, rubbished the allegations made by Nehawu.

“The former mayor does possess a valid matric certificate, management development and computer training certificates as well as a code 10 driving licence. He was appointed on a fixed-term contract with effect from January 2020 and no official was acting in the post,” said Robertson.