COUNCILLORS are calling for the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality's chief internal auditor to be disciplined for allegedly manipulating interview scores and wanting to appoint a white man in an employment equity post.
The city's internal audit and risk assurance director, Bonnie Chan, has come under fire for allegedly wanting to hire Werner Wiehart as the assistant director for forensics and environment, despite former acting municipal manager Elias Ntoba's disapproval.
Chan said last night she could not comment on the matter because it had been discussed in a confidential meeting.
In a secret municipal report dated August 23, which The Herald has seen, acting municipal manager Themba Hani said not only would the appointment not be in line with the council's equity plan, but Wiehart also did not have the required tertiary qualifications for the job.
Wiehart is already working in the internal audit department as a senior forensic investigator.
While Chan insisted due processes were followed and Wiehart's application had been submitted on time, some councillors from the municipal public accounts committee (MPAC) wanted to know why his name was not on the list of applications received for the post.
All political parties, with the exception of the DA, are said to want the recommendation for Wiehart's appointment cancelled and the process started afresh, or the other shortlisted candidate, S Gwija, appointed because he had the qualifications and capacity to do the job.
A councillor who was at the closed MPAC meeting on July 17 said Chan should be suspended and subjected to disciplinary action if she was found guilty of manipulating the interview scores.
"It's a serious matter and we don't expect someone of her calibre [to be involved] in such a bungle. She is supposed to be independent," the councillor said.
"The MPAC recommended that she be subjected to the disciplinary process ...
"In the meeting, Mr Hani insisted that he was standing by his decision that Chan manipulated the interview results."
Another councillor who serves on the MPAC said the internal audit division was the heart of the institution, so if its head was found guilty of irregularities, she should be disciplined.
"Chan was completely out of order. She said she had checked the CVs of the candidates and found that the CV of Wiehart was better than the black guy's," the councillor said.
"That's complete nonsense. We wanted to know if there was no African with those qualifications in the province."
"We asked for their CVs and we saw that the black guy was by far more qualified and he had extensive experience working at the Road Accident Fund."
A third member of the MPAC said while he agreed that if the interview process was manipulated action should be taken, he was concerned that there was no proof to back up Hani's accusation.
"Yes, we are not happy that the appointment is not in line with employment equity, but [Hani] has not shown us any proof that Chan manipulated the process," the councillor said.
"Some say she must be disciplined, but we cannot be drawn into a decision that's not informed. We need proof that she manipulated the scores before we can make a decision."
None of the councillors can be named because the matter was discussed in a confidential meeting.
In the secret report, Chan admitted that Ntoba had refused to authorise Wiehart's appointment, which she had recommended along with chief operating officer Israel Tsatsire.
The municipality's internal audit sub-directorate comprises 51% white employees and 49% black empowerment employees.
According to the minutes of the MPAC meeting, Hani felt Chan favoured Wiehart for the position.
But Chan expressed dismay at the meeting, saying the allegation was an attack on her integrity.
She said she was a professional member of the Institute of Auditors and at all times conducted herself in terms of its code of conduct.
Approached for comment, Chan initially agreed to meet and give her side of the story and "set the record straight", but she backed down later, saying she could not discuss the matter because it had been dealt with in a confidential meeting.
"I am aware that certain allegations were made and it shall be dealt with legally," Chan said.
Chan and Tsatsire have to submit reports detailing their version of events at the next MPAC meeting.