A CONTROVERSIAL Lukhanji Municipality manager whose employment by the local authority in 2012 caused unhappiness among senior managers leading to a probe being conducted by the public protector, has been fired.
The Rep started reporting on former supply chain management (SCM) manager Ayanda Nuku in 2012 after interviews had allegedly been cancelled to allow him to make it on to the short list of candidates as he did not meet the minimum requirements.
In an article (“Questions over SCM job,” March 2 2012) it was reported that a source in the municipality had confirmed the processes had stalled. Nuku was the Lukhanji sub-regional chairman of the ANC at the time.
Three independent sources at the time said a qualified person was needed at SCM as audits were informed by actions taken at the unit. Nuku has a BA in education and a master of business administration.
He was a teacher before going into business.
It was claimed former regional secretary Noncedo Zonke, who was accused of imposing Nuku at the time, said Nuku was a volunteer in the ANC office receiving a monthly stipend. She said the ANC did not interfere with recruitment processes of the municipality.
Nuku claimed the reports were lies, saying this reporter must “write it the way you like”.
In a subsequent article (“No end in sight for SCM position short listing woes,” April 27 2012) it was revealed that allegations of irregularities continued to mar the short listing process of candidates for the position.
This was after four letters were leaked to The Rep.
In one letter, former chief financial officer Lindiwe Ngeno called for reasons from the late municipal manager (MM) Professor Bacela on the decision to repeat the short listing of candidates. She said as she was part of the short listing for the post, all the participants (including the unions) were satisfied the process followed had been fair.
Former human resource director Ncumisa Fololo also wrote to Bacela and refused to be part of the second panel and in another, Ngeno said Bacela refused to provide convincing answers.
“Employee selection is a process of putting the right people in the right jobs, matching municipal requirements with the skills and qualifications of people and therefore effective selection could only be done with effective matching,” Ngeno wrote.
The Rep reported (“Manager’s suspension remains,” November 13 2015) that Nuku was suspended pending a forensic investigation and the suspension had been extended after three months. Reasons could not be provided at the time as “the matter was sub judice”. However, The Rep learnt the suspension followed a report by the municipal asset verification committee on SCM that indicated suspicions of wrongdoing in the process.
This had led to council referring the report to the municipal public accounts committee (MPAC) for a probe.
The MPAC listed queries on tender bids, with one of the findings indicating Nuku should be reprimanded for allegedly not disclosing his relationship with the winner of a bid to supply and deliver gel fuel to Lukhanji.
Last week, during her state of the municipality address, executive mayor Nozi Makanda spoke of a senior official fired for tender manipulation.
This week, responding to queries, MM Nolwandle Gqiba confirmed Nuku had been fired.
“The matter of Mr Nuku is closed. He appealed to the South African Bargaining Council for arbitration and he lost,” Gqiba said.
Nuku could not be reached on his phone and did not respond to a text message sent to him on Wednesday morning.
Nuku was also charged and suspended in October 2014 by the provincial working committee of the ANC when he refused to resign from either the position of SCM manager or ANC chairman. Nuku appealed the decision.
The National Disciplinary Committee of Appeal stated Nuku “was continuing to deny a directive of the NEC [national executive committee] issued in June 2013 regarding the holding of two positions simultaneously.” His appeal was dismissed but Nuku left the ANC position.