The reshuffling of staff in any organisation is usually not a big deal if the purpose is to enhance performance and productivity and ultimately meet goals. It becomes a big deal, however, when it is done for political reasons and in the interests of a powerful few.

Such was the case in the ANC legislature office in the Eastern Cape, where two employees were re-deployed for standing up against the irregular appointment of an unqualified candidate, allegedly made by the party’s chief whip in the province. For the blatant disregard for basic rules that he should be upholding, we make Mzoleli Mrara our zero of the week.

According to the Daily Dispatch, Noluthando Sipuka, who had been employed in Mrara’s office, was moved to the ANC’s human resources office, while Nozikhungo Stofile-Mhlana was moved from human resources to being a secretary to MPL Nomawethu Gqiba. The two were apparently overlooked for the post of researcher in the ANC’s legislature office, and thus took the matter up with Mrara.

The newspaper reports that the matter stems from complaints raised by the pair after the appointment in June of Noluthando Mathetha-Mosiane as a researcher on the grounds that she does not possess the minimum requirement of a degree or diploma. It is further alleged that Mathetha-Mosiane does not possess a legitimate matric certificate. An appeals committee was then set up to investigate the matter, and it found she “does not meet the requisite qualifications for the job”.

The disgruntled officials hold degrees in public administration and are both studying towards postgraduate degrees. At the time of the appointment, they demanded to know why Mathetha-Mosiane was appointed ahead of them. After their complaint, the appointment was reversed by the ANC.

Mrara has been under the spotlight in the past for other questionable appointments, including that of a former girlfriend, according to Dispatch.

While Stofile-Mhlana continues to fight the decision, Sipuka is said to have described the reshuffling as “an abuse of power targeting us for challenging that appointment”. The newspaper quotes her as saying she was angry but had no choice but to abide by the decision.

Mrara’s office faces further pressure from the National Education and Health Workers Union. Dispatch reports that the union’s legislature chairman Madoda Nkwali said they “did not recognise these reshuffles”.

In an official report dated 28 July, which was reportedly drafted by the ANC’s whip for administration, Phumeza Mpushe, the reshuffling of Sipuka and Stofile-Mhlana, among several others, is attributed to “recent activities that took place within ANC caucus, ranging from deployment of MPLs to Buffalo City Metro, to sick staff members and MPLs without secretaries”.