As the Accounting Officer and City Manager of Tshwane, I commissioned an urgent investigation on 16 May 2018 regarding the former Chief of Staff in the Office of the Executive Mayor, Ms Marietha Aucamp, following reports that she might have misrepresented her qualifications at the time of her employment. The final investigation report of the City of Tshwane's independent Chief Audit Executive was presented to me on 25 June 2018. Hence I am making the findings and recommendations public today.
When I was appointed as the City Manager on 1 March 2017 by the Executive Mayor, my immediate task was to stabilise and professionalise the City's administration and appoint senior executives that are qualified and competent.
A year later, I have overseen the appointment of all senior managers that report directly to me, and also expedited the appointment of all Heads of Departments. This has resulted in stability, leadership and improved corporate governance in the administration.
All senior executive appointments were occasioned by a competency assessment conducted by an independent body. All the qualifications were verified with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and academic institutions. In our quest to professionalise the administration of the City, we consciously and deliberately recruited capable and suitably qualified personnel in senior positions. All the positions that are currently under investigation pre-date my arrival in the City.
My office is compelled by the Gauteng Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) to submit and update all qualifications of senior managers reporting to me annually in January, which the City complied with. It was during this time, January 2018, that for the first time as the Accounting Officer I became aware that the former Chief of Staff might not have the required qualifications and I initiated a process to establish the facts. This explains my letter of February 2018 to her in which I gave her seven days to submit certified copies of her qualifications for auditing and verification purposes. Today I am releasing Phase 1 of a comprehensive investigation with regards to the issue of academic qualifications of senior officials in all political offices of the City. Phase 1 relates to the findings and recommendations on the former Chief of Staff only. The findings and recommendations of Phase 2 will be released at a later stage.
This investigation was conducted by the City's independent Chief Audit Executive in a fair and transparent manner, without any due influence.
On 1 September 2016, Ms Aucamp was appointed on a temporary basis as the Chief of Staff for a period of six months. At the time of the temporary appointment, the process of filling the position full time was underway.
The position was advertised on 7 July 2016, with a closing date of 21 July 2016. On 14 July 2016, the closing date was changed to 30 August 2016. The requirements for the position were, inter alia:
• A relevant bachelor's degree or equivalent qualification;
• Twelve years' experience (five years must be at senior management level); and
• Good knowledge of performance management.
Interviews were conducted on 24 October 2016 and Ms Aucamp was selected as the preferred candidate.
On or around 15 May 2018, various media houses carried reports claiming that Ms Aucamp did not possess the required qualifications for the position of Chief of Staff.
As the City Manager I promptly instituted a full investigation which centred on the following:
• The origin and purpose of the personal information form in question;
• The involvement of Ms Aucamp with the form (whether she completed it or not);
• The impact of the form on the recruitment process (whether there was any misrepresentation and or/fraud);
• Whether any misrepresentation and/or fraud as stated supra was made to the City of Tshwane or an agent of the City of Tshwane;
• General non-compliance with the recruitment procedures during the recruitment process of Ms Aucamp; and
• Whether the criminal offence of fraud might have been committed or not.
REVIEW OF THE SELECTION PROCESS
The Group Head: Group Human Capital Department or his/her nominee is responsible for ensuring that each selection process is managed in accordance with the staffing policy and the client department is advised accordingly.
The selection criteria are based on the key performance areas and inherent requirements of the position.
A candidate is considered suitably qualified for appointment based on one or a combination of the following:
• Formal qualifications
• Ability to perform the job
• Application of legislation and policy
It is important to note that when Ms Aucamp was appointed as the Chief of Staff with effect from 1 November 2016, she was already acting in the post from 1 September 2016.
The investigation report indicates that 17 applicants applied for the position of Chief of Staff. Of the 17 applicants, only two applicants did not meet the academic requirement, among them Ms Aucamp.
Examination of the recruitment file obtained revealed that there was no shortlisting and scoring matrix report. The report had apparently been removed from the file. It was during the shortlisting meeting that a decision to consider Ms Aucamp was taken, despite the qualification gap.
The following findings have been made:
• The Executive Mayor has been exonerated from any impropriety;
• The Chief of Staff has been found to have misrepresented her qualifications by stating that she had a B Tech degree on a competency assessment form that she submitted.
• The appointment of the Chief of Staff both in an acting capacity and on contract was irregular and was not in line with the job requirements and our HR policies.
• There is evidence that the City of Tshwane's Human Resource officials did not follow our procedures and policies, and actively side-stepped our processes to effect the appointment of the former Chief of Staff.
The following recommendations have been made and will be complied with:
• The City Manager should subject the human resource officials involved to a disciplinary process leading to consequence management. I have already instructed the City Governance and Support Officer and our Legal and Secretariat Services Department to begin this process.
• The City should institute a range of preventative actions to ensure that its human resource policies and procedures are adhered to and to ensure that instances such as this one do not recur in the future.
• The City Manager must refer all legal issues pertaining to possible actions to the Legal and Secretariat Services Department for further processing.