The tension engulfing the Grootfontein municipal councillors and council employees has reached boiling point as the two warring parties refuse to see eye to eye.
The conflict stems from the alleged interference by some councillors in administrative matters – specifically the recruitment process at the institution as well as allegations of financial mismanagement and corruption.
The staff has therefore called on the minister of urban and rural development to intervene in the matter because it has remained unresolved since 2011 with the parties unable to reach an amicable solutions.
“The current situation at our municipality drove me to write this letter to you for the sake of excellent service provision to the public. I will submit evidence to prove that the internal resources to solve this matter amicably have been exhausted without any success.
“It is clear that councillors have put their interest first and failed to carry out their fiduciary duties towards the public. Since the matter has been going on for a couple of years, it is now clearly affecting our operations, and we can testify that it is partly contributing to our municipal financial woes” a letter from the council’s human resource department reads.
Staff addressed the letter, which is in possession of the reporter, to Permanent Secretary Daniel Nghidinua at the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development.
Efforts to obtain comment from Nghidinua on the unfolding allegation surrounding the municipality proved futile as his phone went unanswered, and neither did he respond to a text message sent to him despite having requested one because he was in a meeting.
The letter dated 2 February further stated that the conflict started with councillors requesting information on vacant positions from all departments.
“The situation has become out of control as councillors have begun to amend the requirements of the position and even undermine the advertising of the positions.
“HR is gradually incapacitated by these actions and cannot perform its mandated functions.
What’s more disturbing is the recruitment and selection of candidates without the required knowledge and skills for the positions,” the letter stated.
It further accused councillors of playing hide and seek tactics as they have ignored the issue on several occasions, despite it being presented to the management committee on 11 November 2016.
“The matter was referred to council meeting and later referred back to management without considering the merits of the issue,” it alleged.
However, in a wide ranging interview conducted last month with the management committee chairperson Jack Tsanigab and chief executive officer Charles Kariko they both vehemently refuted all the allegations.
The issues were first raised by the land activist group which had petitioned the minster to fire the CEO and some councillor because of corruption, mismanagement of funds and irregular land sales.
“People must study the law and Local Authority Act, which is a guiding tool for us. The local authority Act gives the council the mandate, which is also vested in the management committee, to make recommendations and then council will appoint based on such recommendations.
“And if there is an objection the aggrieved party must write to the council and management committee for a decision to be reversed,” Tsanigab stressed at the time of the interview.
“If HR is not happy they must write to council to revoke appointment and re-advertise,” Tsanigab insisted.