LIMPOPO Public Works MEC Nandi Ndalane has appointed her underqualified and inexperienced son in law to a senior post, in what insiders say is part of a jobs for pals scheme she has been running since taking over the department in November last year.
Khazamula Khoza was parachuted to the position of employee wellness director, a level 12 post five notches above a junior position (level 7) he held in another government department, allegedly at the instruction of Ndalane. This is in breach of the rules and regulations of the Department of Public Service and Administration.
Ndalane, who is Tsonga-speaking, has been accused by some staff of purging five senior officials and replacing them with Tsonga-speaking bureaucrats the majority of whom were exempted from normal recruitment processes.
These include former Head of Department Obakeng Mongale, who was forced out with immediate effect, as well as former supply chain management director Denzil Antonio who recently resigned after falling out with her allegedly over tenders.
Apart from hiring her son in law, Ndalane has been accused of:
· Instructing the department to appoint Harley Ngobeni as Deputy Director for Office Service (level 11 post) without the required experience. Ngobeni was a communication officer (level 7 post) at the Limpopo Education Department;
· Bringing in Shikhato Shilowa as supply chain management director through a horizontal transfer from the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture to avoid advertising the post;
· Pushing for the re-advertisement of the post of HOD after her preferred candidate, Friday Mushwana failed to get a security clearance against advice to hire former Vhembe District Mayor Tshitereke Matibe, who emerged as the second best candidate and happened to be Venda-speaking;
· Appointed the current CFO of the Department of Transport, where she previously served as MEC, allegedly to avoid going through normal recruitment processes.
Shilowa and Mushwana previously worked with Ndalane when she was Sports, Arts and Culture MEC. Like Khoza and Ngobeni, the two men are also Tsonga-speaking.
“Tribalism is bad in Limpopo and is being fuelled by people who are supposed to be fighting it,” said a concerned staff member.
“All what we know is that MEC Ndalane doesn’t want the Transport CFO to be Head of Roads Maintenance, she wants her to take over as CFO and have another person whom she is still pursuing to take over as the Head of Road Maintenance, and the current CFO of Public Works to be posted as Head of Strategy.”
Another insider added: “The ANC believes in building a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa wherein all are equal before the law. But what is currently happening at public works is against these principles which cadres of the ANC should be knowing unless other people were parachuted and rushed into leadership positions without knowing and understanding the ANC as a leader in both government and society in general. We will write a letter to both the Premier and Provincial Secretary to look at these issues.”
Nehawu Limpopo Secretary Jacob Adams said they were aware of nepotism and tribalism allegations levelled against Ndalane, adding the union’s branch at the Department of Public has even lodged a complaint with the Public Protector.
“I know that our branch was working with the public protector on some of the issues you are raising. But I will need to double check the latest and verify,” said Adams.
Ngobeni refused to comment while Khoza’s phone rang unanswered. Mushwana and Shilowa could not be reached for comment. Ndalane’s spokesperson, Joshua Kwapa, refused to comment on Khoza and Ngobeni’s appointments citing probes by the Public Service Commission.
“The issue of Khoza and Ngobeni is currently under investigation by the Public Service Commission, and as a result we are not able to comment on it,” Kwapa said.
“Shilowa, it’s the MEC’s prerogative to make sure her department functions effectively and efficiently and as a result Mr Shilowa was brought in to capacitate the department.”
He denied claims of nepotism and tribalism levelled against Ndalane.
“All of the candidates who have been appointed or who have been promoted have gone through normal recruitment processes and therefore the allegation that this is fuelled by tribalism does not exist,” Kwapa added.
He said allegations that Ndalane pushed for Mushwana’s appointment were baseless because MEC’s had no role to play in the appointment of HOD’s.
“Heads of department are appointed by the premier. The recruitment process is headed by the office of the premier and therefore the MEC is unable to comment.”