Allen Paulse approaches the High Court
Click on the ads
Follow OO on twitter: oudtshoorno
Oudtshoorn. 29 December 2011. 08h30. Allen Paulse, rejected by the Oudtshoorn Council for both the positions of Municipal Manager and Director Corporate Services, has petitioned the High Court to set aside Council’s decision to appoint Thandekile Mnyimba as Municipal Manager and to appoint Paulse; in the alternative, to set aside Council’s decision to appoint Francois Human as Director Corporate Services and to appoint Paulse; and/or alternative relief.
The case is set down for January 25.
OO readers already know the facts surrounding the appointments of Mnyimba and Human – facts confirmed yet again by Paulse’s application. (See the related stories below.)
Paulse objects to Mnyimba’s appointment on the following grounds:
1. Mnyimba scored the least points in every test performed.
2. In the managerial exercises Paulse outscored Mnyimba by 38.5 points to 34.5.
3. Mnyimba scored lowest in the integrity test.
4. Mnyimba scored lowest in the personality test.
5. The independent assessor, Riël Hugo, describes Paulse as “an experienced, client orientated manager with sound judgement, his other particular strengths being ‘knowledge management’ and ‘programme and project management’”. (sic)
Mnyimba is described as having potential but displaying a lack of managerial experience and came across as “somewhat hesitant to take decisions and tended to refer even administrative problems to the Executive Mayor.” (sic)
6. Notwithstanding the above scores and assessments, the panel of councillors that conducted the interviews awarded Mnyimba the highest score.
Paulse contends that he has reliable information to the effect that the ANC Provincial Treasurer, Fezile Calana, instructed the selection committee on November 24 that they would receive instructions on the candidates to be appointed, by 08h00 the following day. The Regional Secretary of the ANC, Putco Mpitiza, subsequently did instruct the selection committee during a teleconference on November 25.
OO has learned that at least the DA member of the selection committee, Diane de Jager, was absent from this teleconference.
Paulse concludes that the “excessively high marks” awarded to Mnyimba by the selection committee was “clearly motivated by an improper motive”.
Paulse also argues that even in the absence of evidence of unlawful interference by the ANC, Mnyimba’s high panel mark is clearly irrational and constitutes a ground for review.
Paulse submits that Mnyimba does not possess the “skills, experience and capacity to assume and fulfil the responsibilities and exercise the functions and powers” required by 54A of the Systems Act and the applicable regulations.
In a December 15 letter to Paulse’s attorneys, the Western Cape Minister for Local Government, Anton Bredell, accepts his “oversight role and obligation towards good governance” and undertakes to assess the appointments independently, “in compliance with (his) own statutory obligations in that regard”.
With regards to the appointment of Human, Paulse states that it is clear from the report to Council that only Human and Santu Ngwevu were considered, even though Paulse was shortlisted.
Paulse argues that Human’s appointment be set aside on the basis that he has in the past been found guilty of maladministration and recommended for suspension, whilst serving as Municipal Manager of Kannaland.
Human’s failure to disclose this information, “amounts to a fraudulent non-disclosure which, in and of itself, vitiates (his) appointment…”
Acting for the Municipality, Hardy Mills, of Mills and Lombard in Plettenberg Bay, informed Paulse on December 13 that “any action will be opposed”.
Mills continues: “…after due consideration of your submissions in this regard, we are of the opinion that such proceedings will be without any merit and humbly submit that no court will interfere in the proceedings of appointment as followed in these instances by our client.”
The ANC’s bulldozing tactics can potentially cost ratepayers dearly, as did the ANC’s wanton re-appointment of Noël Pietersen in August 2010.
Yet, there is every chance that any and all costs and expenses relating to Paulse’s action, and indeed relating to any and all alternative actions, will have to be borne by Oudtshoorn’s ANC Councillors in their personal capacities.
OO reported on this precedent on December 11: Kitshoff et al v West Coast District Municipality et al.
DA Councillor Chris MacPherson confirmed this morning that die DA called for a head count when Mnyimba and Human were appointed and that DA Councillors voted against the appointments.
The local Chairman of AfriForum, George Kersop, referred to the Kitshoff High Court Ruling and said that he would approach both the Acting Municipal Manager, Ronnie Lottering, and the Minister, Bredell, early next week to ensure that ratepayers’ rights are reserved.
Kersop also said that he would reach the ORPA Chair, Lizanne Pelham, in Kenia today to coordinate action.