Limpopo's Giyani local municipality rocked by nepotism allegations

The Giyani local municipality in Limpopo has been rocked by allegations of nepotism after the municipal manager and corporate service director allegedly appointed family members in critical and junior positions, leaving those who are qualified for the jobs in the lurch.

Giyani municipality's corporate services director, Thomas Shiviti, has allegedly appointed his nephew, Musa Shiviti as the municipality's new senior licensing officer. Musa Shiviti is understood to be the son of the director's blood brother. Corporate services is one of the major departments in local government at the municipal level, responsible for the recruitment of staff members for the entire municipality, including appointments in human resources, information and technology, and council support.

A mole at the municipality told The Citizen that Musa was competing for the position with a female candidate who scored high points and took first position after interviews.

"But what surprised us is that Musa was still appointed to the position despite the fact that he was outclassed during the interviews. We don't know why he was appointed, maybe it is because the corporate services director is his uncle," said the source.

But that was not the only allegation of nepotism at the beleaguered municipality. Municipal manager Mkhacani Maxwell Chauke was also allegedly implicated in the same allegations. Chauke is accused of appointing three close family relatives in junior positions without following relevant recruitment processes.

Chauke has allegedly appointed Jerry Chauke, Jeffrey Chauke and Obert Chauke, all from his Xigalo home village near Malamulele, as general workers. Last week, a group of disgruntled community members from 90 villages and 31 municipal wards took to the streets and marched to the Giyani municipal buildings in protest against the alleged nepotism.

"Our community is ravaged by poverty and unemployment, especially among the youth, women and people living with disabilities. Most of us are from poor backgrounds and depend solely on social grants for survival. Our parents, who are the only breadwinners in the family, work at the farms surrounding the town and cannot afford to fend for us because they earn peanuts," community activist and spokesperson for the disgruntled community, Nsako Shivambu said yesterday.

Shivambu said: "It is shocking to see a person we have entrusted so much with the responsibilities to lead us empowering only his family and leaving us in the lurch. This municipality does not have a name and a surname. It does not only belong to the Chaukes and the Shivitis. It is a public institution of the people by the people and it should serve all of us," he said.

"We want the municipal manager, (Chauke) and corporate services director (Shiviti) to reverse the appointment now and not tomorrow. Otherwise, they must both pack their bags and leave our municipal offices before we lose our tempers," threatened Shivambu.

Contacted for comment, Chauke said he was not aware of such appointments, especially because they were junior appointments. "Maybe if they were section 57-managers at the level of managers or directors, I might have known and responded as expected. But because they are junior level appointments, all I can say is that this is news to me. Sorry Mr Alex, I am not going to be able to help you. Please speak to the municipal spokesperson," said Chauke.

Shiviti said: "I don't know what you are talking about because I don't have a son or a relative of such a name in my household. I think you must get further comment from the municipality's communications manager," he said.

Municipal spokesperson, Steven Mabunda did not respond to text messages sent to him yesterday nor did he respond to numerous calls by The Citizen.

MEC for cooperative governance, Basikop Makamu, whose department oversees the day to day running of municipalities in the province, said his office has not yet officially received the complaint from the municipality. He offered to investigate the allegations and take appropriate action if and when it is possible.

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