20 June 2019

South Africa: More Woes for Troubled JB Marks Municipality As Cloud Hangs Over Chief Labour Relations Officer's Appointment

The appointment of a chief labour relations officer at the troubled JB Marks Municipality in the North West has been called into question at a time when the council faces the possibility of the provincial government taking over its administration following a string of corruption and mismanagement allegations.

Giyani Freddy Makamu's 2017 appointment is listed in a document compiled by concerned council officials - and seen by News24 - detailing a series of allegations including financial misconduct, fraud and corruption.

The document claims Makamu's appointment was "unlawful and illegal", adding that "he did not have the relevant BA degree and diploma upon which reliance was placed for the application of the post and does not meet the requirements for the work".

North West Premier Professor Job Mokgoro could appoint an administrator to oversee the improvement of certain areas under the control of the JB Marks council (which houses Potchefstroom and Ventersdorp) once it was approved by the province's executive council, News24 earlier reported.

Makamu, who says he was previously a member of the South African Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu), was appointed to the post on October 1, 2017.

"I initially applied for another post in the municipality; I was called after I submitted my CV and they asked me to assist in the labour relations office," he told News24 on Wednesday.

"In 2017, I applied, went through an interview process and I was appointed," the 45-year-old added.

When the post in question was advertised it stated that prospective candidates needed to have a Grade 12 or equivalent qualification, as well as a relevant Bachelor's degree or diploma and five to 10 years relevant experience in labour relations.

Makamu submitted an Advanced Diploma in Labour Law Practice presented by the Law Society of South Africa in co-operation with the Faculty of Law of North West University (NWU) in Potchefstroom.

News24 contacted NWU to verify Makamu's qualifications and while the institution confirmed he obtained the advanced diploma the standing of the said qualification could not immediately be determined.

"During 2007 and 2008, Mr Makamu did a course through the Law Society of South Africa [LSSA]. which was presented in conjunction with the Faculty of Law at NWU.

"The course had to be changed and new certificates were issued to the students in order to comply with the conditions of the Council for Higher Education," university spokesperson Willie du Plessis told News24.

'I have nothing to hide'

Makamu submitted his qualifications to NWU to determine his eligibility and standing following a request from the institution. He is still awaiting a response.

"I studied for an advanced diploma in 2007 to 2008, I have nothing to hide. It is the responsibility of the institution to ensure courses are registered," he added.

Samwu in the North West has since called for Makamu's removal and cited his appointment as one of the reasons behind the Section 1(39) administration notice that could be imposed on the municipality.

"This man was a shop steward and he ended up being appointed in this post because he is close to the managers.

"He must be recalled from that position and the person who appointed him must be charged," Samwu's provincial secretary, Vincent Diphoko, told News24 on Wednesday.

Makamu reiterated that there was nothing untoward regarding his appointment and further challenged the union to head to court over their allegations.

"These are hypocrites hiding behind the union. I even worked for Samwu with the very same qualifications. They must go to court and declare my appointment illegal," he concluded.

News24 was directed to the JB Marks Municipality's spokesperson, William Maphosa, who acknowledged receipt of an email inquiring about the matter but is yet to respond to numerous attempts for comment.

Source: News24

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