Open letter: Business leader calls for transparency at local government level

SEPTEMBER 9, 2016

Dear Newly Elected Mayor,

I would like to congratulate you on being elected as a mayoral candidate during the 2016 Municipal Elections. On behalf of the people of South Africa, you will be responsible for the transformation and management of various municipalities across the country, including major hubs like the City of Tshwane (Solly Msimanga), Johannesburg (Herman Mashaba), the City of Cape Town (Patricia de Lille) and Nelson Mandela Bay (Athol Trollip).

Of course, the task set out before is no small one, and the eyes of the country, and the rest of the world, will be firmly on you. You will have to be open-minded, transparent, just, honest, and lead with integrity. You will have to make good of the promises that many of you have made so boldly in the media. 

Promises of changing our country - one municipality at a time - and turning them into municipalities that work.  Promises of anti-corruption hotlines, and putting an end to wasteful expenditure. Promises of ridding our cities – and cabinets - of corruption, and vetting every tender in an effort to put a halt on illegal contracts. Promises of more jobs for our people, and of becoming facilitators of change.

Which brings me to my next point - how do you plan on making good of your promises? You have said that you are going to start your five-year tenure with a skills audit in an attempt to rid your cabinets of illegitimate, unqualified and in some cases, corrupt individuals.

You have also indicated that you wish to appoint the right candidates into the right positions based on their qualifications and experience, regardless of their political affiliation – and that you will stop at nothing to ensure that this comes to fruition. The messages you have been communicating have all revolved around “people who can do the job,” because in the end, a small leak has the potential to sink a great ship.

This then places the ball firmly in your court. It is up to you to ensure that you do the necessary criminal record checks, credit checks and qualification verifications on all existing as well as potential candidates you want as part of your cabinet. The only way to guarantee this, is to employ a reputable background screening company to verify the credentials of an individual.

Not only would this give you peace of mind that you are, indeed, surrounding yourself with like-minded people, but it would also enable you to step into your new role with confidence and clear direction, backed by the combined efforts of a coherent, cohesive and transparent team.

We look forward to witnessing the many positive changes that you will undoubtedly bring to pass during your time as mayor, starting with those you surround yourself with.

Kind Regards,

Ina van der Merwe, Director and CEO, MIE Background Screening.