18 December 2017 Read: 351
Limpopo premier, Stan Chupu Mathabatha, has emboldened his power in the province with the extension of the contracts of provincial Heads of Departments (HOD) in a move that is seen as a ploy to consolidate power before the provincial conference in February next year. This comes just hours after he was victorious in the Limpopo Provincial General Council of the ANC.
Though some contracts were extended for two years, others were stretched even beyond 2019 when Mathabatha’s term expires. For example, the HOD for the Department of Economic Development who’s MEC, Seaparo Sekoati, is a close ally of Mathabatha, was extended for five years along with that of the HOD in the office of the premier.
This came at a time where the contracts of managers (in accordance to section 57 of the Municipal Management Act) in various municipalities in the province seemed to have come to an end and the process of refilling them has started. Maybe they are not political posts. According to section 57 of the Municipal Systems Act - municipal directors who were previously called ‘managers’ are employed on renewable contract of five years based on their individual performance.
The high paying jobs at Tzaneen’s own white house (situated between the inglorious fountain and the aged museum) seem to have expired too. There are those who believe the Mopani regional leadership want these posts to be filled before the victors at NASREC could have a hand in the appointments. The applications for these posts at the White House which closed last week ranged from the Municipal Manager, Director of Legal Services (a position left vacant after the sacking of Stephen Monyela – a matter on which the spokesperson for the GTM has STILL not commented), Director of Community Services (the vacancy inexplicably left by the controversial Obby Mkombo), Chief Financial Officer and the Director for Economic Development.
According to those in the thick of things, while others want the post to be filled quickly before the conference, others want a delay so the victors at the conference could tend to them. It is common knowledge that after the conferences people who are ‘connected’ are rewarded for their efforts in the preparations for the conference. It will not be surprising if these posts are filled by cadres which will perpetuate the GTM’s current nose dive into the financial abyss.
Spokesperson for the provincial government, Phuti Seloba, said the contracts were extended in line with the load of work the individual departments have to deal with. He said the extension of the contracts for the HOD`s has nothing to do with conference of the ANC and stated instead that the decision follows a provincial cabinet lekgotla in which the premier deemed it necessary.
Seloba further said that the decision was motivated by the fact that all the departments have improved their finances though there may be some who might still be facing challenges. They will be helped to overcome their challenges. The premier recently urged the his Members of the Executive Committee (MEC) to work hard to improve their finances.
“It is an open secret that people expect to be paid with either tenders or lucrative government positions for their efforts towards the conferences. Depending on who knows who, others are rewarded with T-shirts, free food parcels and nights at hotels while others get millions depending on connection” said one source who wanted to remain anonymous.
Looking at the vacant posts at various municipalities, individuals will be taking home millions per year while an ordinary citizen will have to make due with a menial social grant.
There is no Municipal Manager who is hired without the signature of either the MEC or Premier. The extension of contracts for HOD`s paint a picture of what the future of the new Limpopo cabinet will look like following the NASREC conference. It is a bleak preview of what is to come and raises the question, “Where is the DA?”