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Claims surfaced stating that the Newcastle Municipality’s Fire Department was not following recruitment procedures, but rather a more “relaxed” approach.
This comes after accusations came to light stating that the Newcastle Fire Department only employed those who were friends with its leadership team, irrespective if the said person was qualified or not. With corruption rife in South Africa’s government sector, the Newcastillian – Online News approached the Newcastle Municipality to gain clarity.
In response, the municipality’s Communications Unit dismissed the allegations, stating, “The status quo remains the same as there were not any additional firefighters appointed.”
In May 2022, the Newcastillian – Online News reported that the government entity employed 24 operational firefighters to service Newcastle, Madadeni and Osizweni. At the time, the Municipality’s Communications Unit explained that there were three firefighters on standby at Newcastle, three firefighters on duty at Osizweni, and three on standby.
This meant that at any given time, six firefighters were on duty, with an additional six on standby to cover the said areas.
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“The organisational structure was amended, and therefore, there are only three firefighters’ positions on the structure that is budgeted for, and these positions will be filled during the 2022/2023 financial year.”
Highlighting that it had not employed more firefighters as per the allegations, the Newcastle Municipality did, however, say that even if it did, the recruitment process was not a simple one that relied solely on an interview.
In fact, the Newcastle Municipality said that all municipal employees’ qualifications need to be verified.
“When interviews are conducted, it is done by a panel which consists of a Director and/or Manager of the department, representatives of the Human Resource Section and representatives of both unions namely IMATU (Independent Municipal & Allied Trade Union) and SAMWU (South African Municipal Workers’ Union).”
Moreover, the Communications Unit further said that this panel conducts the interviews, and a scoring system is used to determine the most suitable candidates for the positions. “Thereafter, the panel will recommend which candidates are suitable for the appointment, but the actual appointment is done by the Municipal Manager,” explained the Newcastle Municipality.
Assuring no firefighters were recently employed through underhanded methods, and a stringent process is followed, what are your thoughts on the Newcastle Municipality’s feedback?
Share your views in the comment section below.