Tshwane Mayor’s chief of staff placed on special leave over qualification allegations

The City of Tshwane has placed its chief of staff on special leave to investigate her appointment and qualifications she listed on an assessment form for the position

News24 reported on Wednesday that Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga’s chief of staff Marietha Aucamp was appointed to a position with an annual salary of R1,2m despite not having the required qualifications.

On Wednesday afternoon, the City said that Msimanga’s spokesperson claimed he wasn’t “appraised of all the facts” when he responded to News24 enquiries earlier this week.

News24 had reported that Sam Mgobozi said: “The Executive Mayor was never and has never been involved in the recruitment process of any senior manager outside of the accounting officer, which is the City Manager.”

However, News24 is in possession of a report that indicates Msimanga was part of the interview panel alongside member of the mayoral committee Cilliers Brink and then acting City Manager Lindiwe Kwele.

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Shortlisted

The City had admitted that it had not applied for a waiver for Aucamp, in line with Local Government Act.

Selby Bokaba, the Executive Director for Strategic Communications for the City, said Msimanga had instituted an investigation into the matter.

“The Executive Mayor has requested the City Manager to conduct an urgent investigation into this matter and Aucamp has since been placed on special leave,” Bokaba said.

He said Aucamp applied for the job and was shortlisted for the vacant position in October 2016. She was selected “as the most suitable candidate for appointment”.

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“She came out highest on the panel members’ scores. The panel members consisted of the Executive Mayor, MMC for Corporate and Shared Services, Councillor Cilliers Brink, and former acting City Manager Ms Lindiwe Kwele,” Bokaba said.

“It sounds illogical and irrational for any applicant who was shortlisted, interviewed and scored highest in the interview as well as in the assessment to claim to possess qualifications she didn’t have,” Bokaba said in reference to the News24 article.

“While it’s advantageous for the candidate to be in possession of the required qualification, it however, doesn’t preclude a candidate in the political office to be considered for the position without having the relevant qualification, as what is required is experience and grasp of local government.”

Managerial experience

He said Aucamp had 16 years of managerial experience.

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Aucamp, in a scant page-and-a-half CV, does not state her qualifications. She only states that she was acting chief of staff in Msimanga’s office and that she previously worked as the Chief Whip of the DA in the Tshwane metro.

Her references include the DA’s federal Chairperson James Selfe.

In what is referred to as the “assessment centre personal information sheet”, dated 10 October 2016, it is stated that Aucamp has a BTech.

It is unclear who filled out this form but when asked, Aucamp could not explain to News24 why that was included on the sheet.

– News24