Limpopo premier’s office ordered to pay R1.4m over senior manager appointment saga

The Office of the Premier in Limpopo has been ordered to pay an equivalent of 12 months’ salary to an employee who was overlooked for a senior position in favour of a candidate who apparently misrepresented his academic qualifications.

The order, made by the General Public Service Sector Bargaining Council, stipulates that the employee, Moipone Mathole, be paid by 31 January.

The position, senior manager for human resources, comes with a salary of R1.4 million per year.

Evidence before the council was that the post was advertised in September 2012 and 143 candidates applied.

Seven of them, including Mathole, were shortlisted and interviewed.

After the interviews, Mathole obtained the highest score, but the post was re-advertised with 72 applications received and four candidates shortlisted and interviewed.

She re-applied, but was not shortlisted nor invited for an interview. The interviews were conducted by the same panel.

However, she was sent for a competency test together with Michael Maseko who was later appointed to the position.

It then emerged that Maseko had misrepresented academic qualifications in his curriculum vitae by stating that the four-month course he obtained was a diploma.

The qualifications could also not be verified because the college he obtained the qualifications from had since closed down.

In re-advertising the post, the office of the premier stated then that it was necessary because, “… the position is a focus area of the Auditor General”.

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In his ruling, the council commissioner PC Mabitsela stated: “The first respondent’s [Office of the Premier] reason for the re-advertising of the post is not justifiable, even before the initial advertisement the post was a focus area of the Auditor General therefore it could not be reason enough to re-advertise the post.

“The first respondent did not elaborate further as to what exactly Auditor-General focuses on as far as the post in question is concern.”

He found it “mind-boggling” that Mathole was sent for a competency test together with Maseko, whereas she obtained the highest score in the initial interviews.

However, Mabitsela found that for him to order for the appointment of Mathole to the position now would be unreasonable and impractical as the position has already been filled.

National Education Health and Allied Workers Union branch chairperson Norman Mavhunga welcomed the arbitration award.

He said the reversal of Maseko’s appointment would be being challenged in the Labour Court.

Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha’s spokesperson Willy Mosoma could not immediately provide comment on the case.

-The Citizen

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