Statement by Municipal Manager Geraldine Mettler
31 March 2022
Stellenbosch Municipality is taken aback by the Public Protector’s (PP) report released yesterday, 30 March 2022. In the report, the PP makes a finding that the appointments of two senior municipal officials were irregular. The PP is erring in the facts on which the proposed findings are made. The municipality therefore rejects the findings.
The municipality has provided extensive responses and inputs to the PP, to which we have received no feedback. It should also be noted that these alleged irregular appointments stem from a complaint lodged by an aggrieved ex-councillor.
The matter of the appointment of the Director of Corporate Services dates to 2016 and has repeatedly been found to be nothing more than an unfounded attack on the official employed in this position. The reasons raised by the PP as to why a complaint of more than 2 years old against the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is investigated, is weak, unconvincing and does not display special circumstances.
The municipality received clean and unqualified audits and made enormous progress in our respective Directorates under the leadership of the two appointees and the Municipal Manager. Further to this, the Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA), audited the process of the appointment of the Director of Corporate Services and found no irregularities or discrepancies to the process. The AGSA, in every annual audit, looks specifically at appointments of the Section 56 managers and has not once found the process to be improper or irregular.
The AGSA has consistently over the last term given Council and management the assurance that the Internal Auditing procedures and the Audit Committee have executed their mandate in terms of section 165 and 166 of the MFMA and that both provide assurance on Council systems of internal control.
Stellenbosch Municipality prides itself on being an institution that follows the law and, as has been consistently demonstrated over the years of running a clean and highly efficient government, Council has a zero-tolerance approach to any form of maladministration or irregularity.