KNYSNA NEWS - A row has broken out over the appointment of Knysna Municipality's Human Settlements manager after it came to light that Lindile Petuna was accused of misleading or attempting to mislead an Eastern Cape municipality.
Knysna DA constituency head Dion George said in a statement he was concerned to learn about Petuna's appointment.
"Petuna, who also features prominently in Crispian Olver's book How to Steal a City, has been accused of misleading or attempting to mislead the Nelson Mandela Bay council on 133 separate occasions after which he resigned at his disciplinary hearing," George said.
He called on Knysna mayor Mark Willemse "and his ANC counterparts" to urgently review the appointment in light of this information. "Given Petuna's track record, the DA does not believe he will execute his official duties in the best interest of the people of Knysna."
George added that providing residents with the "dignity of a home" could not be "degraded by officials who are facing charges of misconduct and corruption".
He further said the party would monitor the situation carefully and continue to put pressure on Willemse and his executive "to put the interests of Knysna ahead of dodgy appointments".
Municipal manager Sitembele Vatala, however, remained adamant that Petuna was the most suitable candidate for the position. "A qualified and registered town planner, Petuna performed exceptionally well during the municipality's vigorous recruitment and selection process which included a written assessment, interview session and screening," Vatala said.
"The executive mayor and councillors are only involved in the appointment of the municipal manager. The appointment of other staff members is the responsibility of the municipal manager, who is the municipality's accounting officer," Vatala explained. "A seasoned politician like George should be aware of this. If he harboured reservations about any new appointment, he should have written to me in my capacity of accounting officer. I find it regrettable that he chose to bring the municipality into disrepute through a politically motivated press statement."
Vatala also said the DA unanimously supported the appointment of Petuna to the Knysna Planning Tribunal (KMPT) at a council meeting on 29 August. "Were the allegations made by George merited, the DA councillors should have brought these to the attention of the full council and KMPT. "The municipality stands by its decision to appoint Mr Petuna, based on his proven experience, capability and track record," he concluded.
When asked whether the allegations against Petuna were considered during the appointment, municipal spokesperson Christopher Bezuidenhout said the municipality had no further comment in this regard. "Our press statement is clear on our position," he said.
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