The job Nyanda’s axed DG refused

2010-10-03 09:07

She may officially be out of a job, but that has not stopped axed ­communications director-general Mamodupi Mohlala from rejecting a lucrative position offered to her by ­Public Service and Administration Minister Richard Baloyi.

Mohlala was dismissed by communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda in July after he claimed that their relationship had broken down.

This week Mohlala arrived at the communications department’s headquarters in Pretoria to find her office locked.

According to her lawyer, Khashane Manamela, Mohlala ­denies that her relationship with Nyanda broke down.

She insists that she is still the ­communications director-general until she has been “offered a similar ­position”.

She rejected Baloyi’s offer of the position to turn around the struggling Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority (Pseta) because she would have reported to another director-general and the job was for only six months.

Mohlala’s refusal to back down from the spat with Nyanda has been given much attention in the country’s media.

She rejected a R3.1-million golden handshake offer in August, which included R2.9 million for the remainder of her contract and R200 000 for her legal costs.

She still has two years remaining in her contract with the communications department.

According to Manamela, the terms of settlement are that she will not be offered a position with less favourable conditions than communications director-general.

A director-general earns R1.2 million a year.

Mohlala believes that reporting to a fellow director-general, Mary Metcalfe of higher education, will be a demotion.

Metcalfe hired Mohlala, according to the Government Gazette, ­announcing her appointment.

Mohlala was officially appointed as Pseta administrator on September 17; a six-month position to change the fortunes of the entity.

Manamela says they immediately wrote a letter to have the notice reversed or clarified, but in vain.

“Nothing concrete was ever discussed with our client, including what would happen after the six months,” he explains.

Manamela says they discussed, in general terms, the availability of the Pseta position to which they ­responded by raising issues relating to level, reporting structure or line, overall responsibilities and budget.

Pseta has been plagued by poor governance and financial mismanagement and is currently being probed by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) headed by Willie Hofmeyr.

Last month the public service and administration department told Parliament that Pseta did not have a properly documented ­financial history, had poor ­record-keeping and “practically no accounting”.

Before 2008 its finances had not been audited for six years.

A former finance manager allegedly defrauded R1.4 million from Pseta, and the organisation also cannot account for R10.8 million, a matter referred to the SIU.

Mohlala’s duties would have been to facilitate the appointment of a new Pseta board; suspend, ­institute disciplinary proceedings against or replace, where necessary, any Pseta officials; and review the ­employment of its senior officials and other employees.

Mohlala would have had to work with new Pseta chief executive Shamira Huluma and the board.

Huluma, who was appointed in August, says she is confident that a turnaround is possible in six months and is aware of the challenges faced by Pseta.

“I have no say on the appointment of the administrator; it’s higher education minister Blade Nzimande’s decision,” Huluma says.

Setas, of which there are more than 20, were established in 2000 to raise employee skills and better prepare those in the job market.

The Setas were transferred to the higher education department from the labour department in ­November.

Pseta has had seven acting chief executives in four years, including Renee Deschamps, Sipho Majombozi, Clive Mtshisa, Joe Rantete, and Busi Nake, who was at the helm until a few months ago.

The public service and administration department’s acting director-general, Kenny Govender, also acted as Pseta boss.

However, the Pseta position was not the only plum position ­offered to Mohlala.

The position of head of the Asset Forfeiture Unit, currently held by Hofmeyr, and two director-general posts – in the departments of public enterprises and of women, children and people with disabilities – were apparently also offered to her.

Other positions on the table were principal officer of the Government Employees’ Pension Fund, and chief executive of strategic parastatals the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Transnet, Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), Telkom, SA Airlink, the State Information Technology Agency, Armscor, PetroSA and the National Credit Regulator.

Positions became vacant after the dismissal of PetroSA boss ­Sipho Mkhize and Siyabonga Gama at TFR, and the departures of the PIC’s Brian Molefe and ­Reuben September from Telkom.
 

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