The Rustenburg Local municipality, in the North West, is setting a landmark trend, as it is the first municipality in the country to conduct interviews for the position of municipal manager in public.

The interviews follow a recent damning report by the Auditor General, which revealed most municipalities in the province failed to receive clean audits.

Rustenburg has one of the biggest budgets of all the municipalities in the province. It also contributes at least 21% to the GDP of the province from a host of mining and industrial activities.

However, its success has been clouded by allegations of mismanagement and rampant corruption.

The previous municipal manager, whose office was raided by the Hawks for alleged tender corruption, resigned in May, after merely two years in office.

Executive Mayor Mpho Khunou says the initiative is to ensure the right person is appointed.

“I think we needed to be more transparent so that the public can understand the decisions we take. It was probably the first in the country, it’s part of the new drive to be more transparent and open about processes. We come from history that is clouded by controversy, it’s always better for people to understand why some people are appointed. Hopefully other municipalities will follow suit in this initiative which is in the interest of our residents,” says Khunou.

The municipality currently faces a list of litigations following allegations of irregular tenders, notably, the fleet tender.

Some business people say they are forced to pay bribes and hope the new accounting officer will be a person of high moral integrity. So says chairperson of Rustenburg Chamber of Commerce, Pieter Malan.

“It’s a good thing as long as we do not see any political interference, unfortunately the position is such high powered important position, as business we required someone with great integrity unfortunately with the last one is not something we got. Amongst the business people, there’s lot of corruption going on. Certainly there’s enough evidence there are some corrupt activities, some are irregular – for business that is an untenable situation, as business we do not want to go the corrupt way .”

However, opposition parties, have already cast aspersions.

They accuse one of the three candidate, of having issued a controversial security tender.

[Watch] Rustenburg starts public job interviews for managers