A letter to Ivan Meyer

Appointments in Bitou are disconcerting.
Discombobulating even.

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Oudtshoorn. 6 February 2013. 09h30.

The Leader
Dr Ivan Meyer
DA Western Cape

Dear Ivan

Appointments in Bitou are disconcerting. Discombobulating even.

The staff contingent of the Bitou Cope Deputy Mayor is to be expanded – I attach two current advertisements in this matter.

It is obvious that much more than the extra R25,000 odd Eden “14th” cheque for Cope’s Western Cape Leader Vujani Gouws (ask Theuns Botha) is at the bottom of clear disharmony between Cope and the DA in Eden, despite the failed curt January 10 dismissal by Botha: “We had a successful meeting, thank you.”

They want their otiose cadres looked after, do the Cope leadership.

In addition to Gouws, Cope Eden spokesperson Allan Kock was also “parked” in Eden District Municipality after the May 2011 elections when the DA won Eden outright.

Prudent Eden DA councillors complained about the cost of carrying the dead wood. Eventually the Eden DA constituency head, Botha – also the DA’s head of government business and, of course, your present understudy – forced Kock on Bitou, where he was positioned as “office manager” to the Cope deputy mayor… to the irritation and vociferous objection of at least one judicious DA councillor, Johann Brummer, who has since been “automatically” removed by some rogue DA computer untouched by human hands.

A “Personal Assistant to the Deputy Mayor” – R127,992 per annum; and a “Clerk: Special Programmes” – R89,678 per annum, both tied to the deputy mayor’s term of office, are now being recruited.

The unseemly haste suggested by the closing dates of 1 and 8 February is indicative of… Well, of indecorous precipitancy.

The clerk is to “assist with the building of institutional support structures and mechanisms to effect the mainstreaming of transversal issues.”

Say WHAT!?

I venture a translation: “Taurine ordure”.

Kock’s cost to Bitou is believed to be in the region of R240,000 per annum.

Adding the cost of the new recruits, the Bitou ratepayers are therefore expected to “sponsor” Cope members to the tune of some R450,000 per annum – in a council where Helen Zille personally sold “control” to unsuspecting Ward 2 voters in December to return a DA candidate to council… something her trusting supporters duly did.

Pray, therefore, “control”!

O, the cost of the deputy mayor’s body guard and driver must also be considered.

Plett residents clearly recall Western Cape DA Chair Anton Bredell’s comments after the 2009 elections that no “nonsense spending” would be tolerated in Bitou, or anywhere the DA governs.

Bredell’s ministerial office even financed an expensive PwC audit last year to trammel the organogram. That the advertised posts are, according to Bitou Corporate Services, incorporated in this document smacks of political interference; speaks to the folly of the expense; and affords Bredell’s post-election bravado that irritating political broken bell clang.

The duties of a deputy mayor, pardon – “executive deputy mayor” – can be disposed of by a busy person in half an hour before breakfast, to borrow a phrase once used by an efficient old school Oudtshoorn director about a then new appointment in “strategic” management.

The Executive Deputy Mayor should not be afforded three staffers to help him fill his daily 30 minutes, and at ratepayer expense.

Reggie Smith was just appointed Director Corporate Services. A die-hard ANC cadre with an unspectacular management record, as Eden DA Councillors attest, he has managed to keep on the DA’s good side and was appointed subsequent to a brief interview reliably reported as an event characterised by mutual mirth.

You are, of course, aware, I trust, that Bitou has an ANC Mayor? (As do Eden, by the way.) Dressed in a blue T-shirt, to be sure, but ANC attuned nonetheless. Again, ask the top DA Councillors in Eden. No, the top ones, Ivan; the ones under party siege.

There appears to be some say about outsourcing Human Resource Management and I advise you to investigate the reasons for this interesting snippet. I strongly advise you to investigate the reasons. As in strongly advise you, as I am not in the habit of airing washing – soiled or even just sweaty.

Ye gods and faeries, Ivan. Ye gods and faeries, my dear sir!

Do not you have a DA MP in charge of Bitou?

Have not you “control” as The Dear Leader promised the Ward 2 voters in December?

Yours truly

Drewan Baird

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13 thoughts on “A letter to Ivan Meyer

  1. Well well well, Pletty – your example (and assumptions) support my view. And by the way I never attributed anything to you that you did not say. To start by answering your last question – because the MM is a political puppet. Pure and simple. He will allow anything his masters tell him to as long as his appointment is a political one (as you seem to advocate).

    To now answer the balance of your analogy – firstly, your assumption that the CEO and his staff are committed to the policies and beliefs diametrically opposed to the new board is unfounded. Only the previous board was opposed to those. Your statement was that the shareholders changed their view and then changed the board. But, that is a bit of a long shot from my side. The fact of the matter is, if the correct CEO was in office from the beginning (ie in your example one who doesn’t care so much about people as about the profits of Hospitals Inc and its shareholders), then he would chase profit at all cost, does not matter if it is by way of abortions or otherwise, as long as it is allowed and sanctioned by the board. So he should have gone to the board and propose to start abortions (if that would have been more profitable) with a proper proposal, which could be voted on by the shareholders. That is the job of the CEO – to make money for Hospitals Inc. Not to be politically aligned with the shareholders or the board, but merely to deliver on their over riding instructions to “make more money” (in the ambit of the law off course).

    The problem in Bitou (and politics in general) in my most humble opinion is exactly that councils are party politically motivated and not service delivery orientated. In other words, all parties promise basically the same thing pre-election, but when in control they only look after themselves. It is about being in power, rather than using their power to do good. Or do something at least, other than messing things up. The over riding instruction to all MM’s is to “deliver proper services”. Or to properly deliver services. They are not doing that, because they are so deep in bed with their political appointers (and so motivated to not loose their enourmous pay cheques) that they just want to keep the puppet masters happy, do as they’re told and get the money.

    To come back to your story – if the CEO (MM) and the board and shareholders are more focused on doing the work that needs to be done, rather than implementing political policies, things will be so much better.

    ps. on a lighter note – I cannot fathom how you can imagine that free deliveries and free abortions are “basically the same thing”, but I suppose that is what can be expected from a career politician, who is used to seeing (service) deliveries being made abortions of… Oh, and by the way, if both the abortions and the deliveries are free, then Hospital Inc still would not make a cent profit. Just saying. In other words, whether the DA or the ANC or the Soccer Party (or any other political party) rules the house will make absolutely NO difference at all. It will remain morally and financially bankrupt. Only when the people govern themselves (maybe by way of independent candidates, will things change.

  2. Ja, I agree with you Sceptic but we’re talking at cross purposes. Lets move away from politics for a moment and look at an analogy from another sector.

    Hospitals Inc owns and operates a chain of pediatric hospitals. The shareholders and board all believe fervently in the-right-to-life and are all committed Catholics rejecting contraception and abortion as a strong matter of principle. They go so far as to offer free services to unwed mothers to dissuade them from having abortions. All peace and smiles excepting the thing is not making money and the shareholders decide they need a change and appoint a completely new board.

    The new board members are atheists and are all pro choice. They know the money lies in abortions, quick and easy and on demand. And selling a new range of contraceptives at schools. And of course free abortions for those who can show they cannot afford to pay. A whole new ethic and approach has been brought in.

    Nothing much changes about the work, you simply change from free deliveries to free abortions. Same basic thing.

    The question is how enthusiastically and well are the existing CEO and his staff, (who are all committed to policies and beliefs diametrically opposed to the new board’s), going to do their work. Are they, under the new circumstances the best people to drive the new policies. Policies which they abhor. Can the new board place their absolute trust in their CEO and other employees to do their very best to promote contraception and abortion?

    An extreme example but apposite none the less.

    Not for a moment do I say what you claim I said about MMs. Don’t put words in my mouth, listen to my arguments. They are as key as any CEO of any entity for that entity to reach its goals. And quite the contrary, there are enormous dangers inherent in either a mayor or a municipal manager being dominated by the other. Each has his own functions in serving the entity and part of that is to ensure that the other stays on the straight and narrow. Once an MM starts blindly obeying a mayor you WILL have major problems.

    Lets get back to the real question here.

    How is it possible that the Bitou MM allows the council to carry on in this blatantly illegal manner? Why the hell did he even approve the placement of the adverts?

  3. @ Pletty, political puppets is the last thing needed in top positions in Municipalities. Why does the Mayor and council have to “trust” the MM to do his work? His/her political orientation has nothing to do with it. If the MM does not perform properly he/she just gets canned. On your argument, all MM’s should be completely useless and have no opinion or brain of their own, they should merely do exactly what the political leaders tell him/her to do.

  4. Andrew.

    I am not in a position to argue the point with you. In any event, I do not have the knowledge of the inner workings of the DA.

    I have been a member for a long time, but like most people I tend to want to believe what I am told, especially when it correlates with my take on things. The DA’s published policy is that this kind of thing is anathema to them as it is to me. It is there in black and white on their website for all to see. We constantly read in the paper how they fight against it all over the country. We certainly saw how the DA exposed and fought maladministration, cadre deployment, corruption, fraud etc here in Plett for years and years. That was the DA in opposition.

    What we are seeing with our own eyes now is the DA in power and what now appears to be a very different animal. I am not alone amongst DA members to have experienced a rude awakening over the past year or so. The evidence is all there for us to see thanks to O!O. We are getting a behind-the-bedroom-door peek at the DA. Not just the bottoxed and painted lady at the cocktail party drinking champagne from a crystal glass and nibbling canapes from a silver platter with pinky aloft. We are now also see the vicious old hag without make up taking the stolen glasses and silverware she stole at the party from her bag while swigging OBS straight from the bottle.

    Under the circumstances only a fool would ignore life’s realities. As miserable as it makes me to admit it, I have been forced to see through the DA’s bottox and cocktail party chatter. I’ve seen the drunken, thieving old hag.

    I was deceived. I was wrong. I am forced to lend more credence to what you say about the DA in government than what they say. Simply because your version is much closer to the reality we now see with our own eyes than their version. Although I do not know you from a bar of soap and you offer nothing in support of what you say; under the circumstances your integrity and credibility must trump theirs.

    I accept that practicing cadre deployment is probably not a policy shift for the DA, but a secret policy, and if not that, then at least an accepted practice.

    I still say, maybe Colin Bell, a man who professes to have the inside line can help us with this, because the DA’s leadership are understandably reluctant to face the truth. A sordid mess.

  5. Pletty I completely disagre with you, cadre deployment is not a policy shift from the DA it is and was always an unweritten policy of the DA. We have seen this for the past eight years in DA controled municipalities in the province I don’t even want to mention what is happening in the provincial government. The DA has got a very suttle way of doing underhand and illegal things. You must certainly know what I am talking about being a member of the DA for such a long time.

  6. As you say O!O, in an ideal world…

    Unfortunately it is so that municipal government is politicized. A relatively small group of bureaucrats get shuffled from post to post. Some, by own preference work for the DA and some for the ANC. When a political party takes over power it does so in order to stamp its brand on the governance. Its principles and policies.

    The MM and Directors must then carry out the policies of that party. A difficult thing to do when you believe in the opposite. It is also extremely difficult for a council or mayor to trust a MM they know to be inclined towards another party. That is the reason why the 5 year contract system for hiring people into these positions exists. Ignoring political realities is to court disaster.

    Creating posts specially for political cronies is an entirely different thing and to my knowledge a very new DA policy shift. I’m wondering whether Colin Bell can throw some light on this new trend for us, seeing as the DA political heavy weights have all run for the hills?

    A response, any response will do.

  7. Sceptic

    I can not fault your reason.

    Just this: In my experience political party allegiance most always trumps service delivery.

    And at local government the most prevalent political activity is showing up the opposition.

    In an ideal world…

  8. As far as the unnecessary appointments are concerned, I agree 100%.

    About the Mayor, I agree 100% – that is a political position, not an appointment for administration.

    BUT, when it comes to director of corporate services, or MM (or any other appointment in the administration, whether senior management, junior management, char, floor sweeper or whatever) I only agree with best person for the job. Whether they lean left or right, bend over forwards or backwards, religion, race, sexual orientation should play absolutely zero role. Nothing, nada, zilch. And that my dear O!O, is exactly why most Municipalities are in the deep doodoo they are, because every 5 years, or sometimes more often due to by-elections, when a new king is crowned, the whole top structure (senior management) is chucked out and replaced with cronies, and buddies etc, costing millions, setting back the work months if not years.

  9. Sceptic

    Best person for the job!

    Yet a DA government should not have a mayor and senior management leaning to the opposition.

    The main concern here is the unnecessary appointments (of whatever political party hacks) in die Bitou deputy mayor’s office.

  10. With all due respect, but what does any municipal official’s political orientation or views have to do with their appointment? Does O!O advocate that the DA should only appoint DA supporters in roles such as MM or directors? If that is the case, then I must be the one to say that it would in my mind discredit every single word O!O has ever written. O!O is anti-corruption, dead set against cadre deployment (by the ANC) but apparently not by the DA. Or did I miss something?

  11. Wat gaan aan? Het jy al ‘n antwoord gekry op jou skrywe? Hoekom is dit slegs jy wat die saak aanroer. Dit is tog immers duidelik soos daglig dat die politici nie daar is om ons te bedien nie maar ons hulle! En steeds geen antwoord nie. Kan dit wees.

  12. I have one question for the Honourable Ivan Meyer and Theuns and Bredell and Zille above.
    How long sir /lady do you think it is going to take for the Taxpayers to get ‘gatvol’ of all these unnecessary and often unauthorised waisteful expenditure, corruption and incompetence before the public start witholding their taxes to all the predatory “elite”and gravy trainers, cause that dear Sir/Lady is when your income will disappear over night and the municipality will collapse, all because of political meddling and continued ineptitude that you helped create !!.

    The writing is already on the wall for more than 84% municipalities, Tswane been the latest today who are late in paying salaries. When this starts happening are the people going to come to your house en mass to look for answers and retribution ? Will you be up to the challenge if this happens ?

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