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MEC in hot water as PSC report reveals rot at transport department

2019-11-26 23:40

Eastern Cape transport MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxotiwe is in hot water for approving the appointment of a deputy director-general (DDG) for administration in her department because of being “in possession of the incompetencies of the department”.

This finding is contained in the summary of findings and recommendations of a report compiled by the Public Service Commission (PSC) into allegations of irregular appointment of staff, consultants and contractors in the Eastern Cape transport department.

City Press reported earlier this month about allegations made by Amanda Zono, a former employee in the department, in an affidavit implicating Tikana-Gxotiwe relating to her being allegedly chased out of the department.

Read: MEC, ex-lovers in jobs-for-pals scandal

In an interview with City Press, Zono at the time mentioned names of officials who were allegedly irregularly appointed in the department, in the same manner she was appointed.

The department at the time denied that one of the officials mentioned by Zono was irregularly appointed.

But according to the PSC report, which City Press has seen, all the names that were mentioned by Zono during the interview were among those whose appointments were set aside by the PSC because they either did not meet the requirements of the post or their posts were never advertised.

The PSC report was tabled before the provincial portfolio committee on transport at the Bhisho Legislature on Tuesday.

The PSC report, which City Press has seen, recommended that the appointment of the DDG for administration, Mzwandile Sisilana, be set aside because he did not meet all the requirements for the post.

Khuselwa Rantjie, spokesperson for the department, confirmed that the PSC report had been “received” and “noted”.

“We are currently in the process of engaging the affected parties and we will be developing an action plan which will be submitted to the PSC in line with the commissioner’s recommendations,” Rantjie said.

Sisilana had not responded to a WhatsApp message despite having read it.

This story will be updated once his response has been received.

The PSC also found that 15 officials, including a chief director and director for human resources in the department’s lucrative scholar transport unit, were irregularly appointed.

In the report, the PSC said it had “noted the MEC’s comments when approving the appointment of Mr Sisilana when she said Mr Sisilana ‘is in possession of the incompetencies of the department’”.

The report said Tikana-Gxotiwe’s statement “requires further explanation”.

With regard to Sisilana’s appointment, the report said the PSC received an allegation that Sisilana was appointed as DDG responsible for appointments and transfers, but did not meet the requirement of a Master’s degree for the post.

“Mr Sisilana did not possess the required qualification as advertised which was one of the requirements of the post and he confirmed this state of affairs. The selection panel totally deviated from the requirements of the post as stipulated in the advert and Mr Sisilana should not have been shortlisted, let alone being recommended for appointment. The PSC noted the MEC’s comments when approving the appointment of Mr Sisilana when she said Mr Sisilana ‘is in possession of the incompetencies of the department’. This statement requires further explanation. In this instance, the selection committee abdicated its responsibility by not committing itself to the full requirements of the advertisement and contravened [legislation]. The scrutiny of the information contained in Mr Sisilana’s CV reveals that he should not have been appointed to the post of DDG: Administration as he did not meet all the requirements ...” the PSC report said.

The PSC also found that 15 officials, including a chief director and director for human resources in the department’s lucrative scholar transport unit, were irregularly appointed.

The majority were directors, deputy directors and managers.

Of these, only two officials occupied junior positions such as administration officer.

A receptionist in Tikana-Gxotiwe’s office was also found to have been irregularly appointed.

The report also found evidence of manipulation of Persal (government’s payroll or employee registration system) relating to the appointment of a senior official in the department.

The official was demoted – allegedly under the pretence that the PSC had made such a recommendation in 2011.

However, in the report released on Tuesday, the PSC denied having made such a recommendation for his demotion in 2011.

The PSC said the fresh investigation into the official’s matter was instigated by an allegation it received that it had in 2011 recommended that the official be demoted.

“His demotion was never affected; instead the Persal system was manipulated to show that he was at level 8 while receiving a salary of a deputy director. He was now acting director in the superintendent’s office,” according to an allegation made to the PSC.

“There is evidence that Persal is being manipulated by the department for wrong reasons. This was evident when investigators requested Persal printout to confirm the actual rank [of the official] ...” the report said.

“The Persal printouts which were printed on the same date contained different contents in terms of the post and salary codes. The PSC could not arrive at a determination in respect to the allegation that [the official’s] demotion was never effected but instead the Persal system was manipulated to show that he was at level 8 while receiving the salary of a deputy director. The scrutiny of the information of the documentary evidence submitted by the department revealed that [he] was appointed to act to the post of director: executive support and is found to be substantiated.”


Msindisi Fengu

Journalist | City Press

+27 11 713 9001
Msindisi.Fengu@citypress.co.za
Media Park, 69 Kingsway Road, Auckland Park
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December 8 2019