By GEOFF EMBLING, Democratic Alliance Ward 4 Councillor
Part of the agenda for the Makana Municipality Council meeting on Friday, 27 May, involved choosing a new chief financial officer (CFO) for the municipality. Councillors received an additional part of the agenda about selecting the CFO, which was labelled “confidential” less than 24 hours before the council meeting. Not all councillors received this part of the agenda in their pigeonholes.
The Speaker began the meeting by stating that the meeting must finish at lunchtime because he had to be somewhere. The agenda was rushed, and there were no objections by councillors to the preferred CFO candidate, Nomfundo Fetsha. On Monday, 30 May, the DA discovered that the “confidential” part of the agenda, which contained detailed information about the shortlisted candidates and their interviews, did not disclose essential information about Fetsha.
While Fetsha worked as CFO for the Chris Hani District Municipality, she was accused of fraud, theft and forgery, and she appeared before the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court in 2019. It is alleged that she stole R100 000 from the municipality, which was paid as a “donation”, and that after she appeared in court, she was let out on R2 000 bail.
The South African Police Station in Grahamstown/Makhanda has two records of criminal investigations into Fetsha, one dating back to 2013. At this time, it is unclear whether Fetsha was convicted of these crimes and whether she has a criminal record. Still, the information about her appearance before the Commercial Crimes Court should have been disclosed to councillors in the “confidential” agenda.
A further red flag relates to Fetsha’s fingerprint verification. Her application documents stated that fingerprints taken on 21 April 2022 were of poor quality and that the result had been declared void, requiring that her fingerprints needed to be recaptured. It is important to note that fingerprints are a required component of any criminal record check, which cannot be completed without them.
The vetting and verification of fingerprints and reference checks were done by a company called “Work Dynamics”, and questions and answers from these reference checks were stated on the agenda. Work Dynamics asked the Chris Hani Municipality Director of Integrated Planning and Economic Development, Zamuxolo Shasha, whether Fetsha had ever been “suspected of unethical behaviour or negligence, or underwent any disciplinary actions”. Shasha responded “Never” and “No” to these questions. It has subsequently emerged that Chris Hani District Municipality suspended Fetsha for her role in the alleged fraud/theft of municipal funds.
Lastly, it has emerged that Fetsha worked under the current Makana municipal manager, Moppo Mene, at the Chris Hani District Municipality before Mene moved to Makhanda. Mene served on the selection panel, recommending Fetsha’s appointment to Council. There was no disclosure of conflict of interest by either Mene or Fetsha in the shortlist documents presented to Council.
The DA will submit a motion to Council to rescind their decision to appoint Nomfundo Fetsha as the CFO of Makana Municipality because she is not a fit and proper candidate for a position of trust and authority and will be writing to the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to request that he review the appointment.