Article on Premier Mabuza baseless

2010-07-24 10:54

Your article, “The Premier, his wife, ex-wife and a duo of untouchables” (July 11 2010), contains sweeping ­assertions that are baseless, ­unsubstantiated and intended to cast aspersions on the person of the Mpumalanga premier. It ­cannot go ­unchallenged.

The allegation that the ­premier is ­dragging his feet in disciplining certain officials ­connected to him, his wife or ex-wife is ­unfounded and malicious.

Ms Priscilla Nkwinika, one of the officials referred to as being untouchable, had previously tried to resign after allegations of misconduct were levelled against her.

The premier had refused to ­accept her resignation, contending that this would undermine the ongoing corruption ­investigation. Premier Mabuza stated categorically last year that ­allowing Ms Nkwinika to resign would confirm the false allegations that he was protecting ­corrupt officials.

After completing the ­commission of inquiry, charges have been preferred against Ms Nkwinika and her case is ­ongoing, with the next sitting from August 10 to 13.

We believe you are using ­innuendo and ­falsehood to ­discredit the premier without any just cause.

Premier Mabuza ­announced last year that the merger of the then departments of public works and transport would form the Department of Public Works Roads and Transport.

During this time, certain ­allegations of misconduct were ­levelled against Ms Nkwinika and, as a result, the premier had deemed it inappropriate for her to ­continue working in the ­department as it would not have augured well for a transparent ­investigation.

She was removed and placed in his office at the level of deputy director-general and transferred laterally to the office of the ­premier.

It is therefore absurd and ­misleading to suggest that there could have been an outcry as a result of her promotion.

The attempts to cast the ­premier in a bad light in view of his wife and ex-wife’s business ­activities is an example of a ­disingenuous form of journalism.

We have gone to great lengths to illustrate the commitment of the premier to good corporate governance and the steps he has taken to arrest corruption in the province.

However, it is crucial to ­understand that the responsibility for procuring services for ­government lies with the ­accounting officer and not the executive authority.

Please tell us which laws ­prohibit the wives, ex-wives or ­relatives of public representatives from engaging in business ­activities?

Your newspaper must also ­explain to us how the premier ­afforded certain individuals an advantage in getting business deals.

We believe that in the interests of fairness and justice, we should be ­given evidence for the allegation that Premier Mabuza is a friend of advocate Hugh Mbatha, the Enhlazeni municipal manager who, according to a forensic report, irregularly awarded tenders.

It is apparent that in view of your perception that the premier is friends with advocate Mbatha, he is reluctant or is dragging his feet in disciplining him.

Section 160(1)(d) of the ­Constitution states a ­municipal council may employ personnel necessary for the effective performance of its functions.

By implication, it ­also bears ­responsibility for disciplinary action against any employee.

It is against this background I believe you would ­appreciate the minimal role of the premier in matters of disciplinary ­measures in the local sphere of government.

Sithole is spokesperson for ­Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza

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