Exit packages slammed

2008-04-15 00:00

Opposition parties in the provincial Legislature have lambasted Premier S’bu Ndebele and his executive for paying out exorbitant exit packages to senior government officials who left under a cloud.

The outrage comes after the resignation of Health director-general Dr Busi Nyembezi last week.

Nyembezi was suspended following allegations that she was involved in a multi-million rand tender scam.

The premier’s office has, however, maintained that Nyembezi was suspended because there was a breakdown in relations between her and MEC Peggy Nkonyeni.

Other heads of department who also allegedly received huge exit packages include Jabulani Mjwara, the former head of Agriculture fingered in maladministration, and Thabani Zulu, who carried out a short stint at Welfare.

The leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party in the Legislature, Lionel Mtshali, said the exit packages are aimed at "motivating some suspended officials to withhold crucial information" from the public.

Democratic Alliance MPL Johannn Krog said paying large exit packages makes for instability and a lack of accountability.

Finance MEC Zweli Mkhize said no officials received packages that are above what is stipulated by the Public Services Act. He said the negotiations for the exit of some officials becomes inevitable when there is a breakdown in relations.

Meanwhile, a confidential report that the Premier’s Office never made public has been leaked to a Durban newspaper.

The report, compiled by legal firm Strauss Daly Incorporated, recommended that Ndebele fire Nyembezi. This, after it established that there was a serious conflict of interest in the awarding of contracts to Sisa Consulting, a company owned by her husband.

Last week, Ndebele denied that Strauss Daly was investigating any corruption allegations levelled against Nyembezi.

KZN director-general Dr Kwazi Mbanjwa also denied last week that Nyembezi’s resignation had anything to do with the Scorpions raid on her offices the same day she resigned.

(Additional reporting: Nathi Olifant)

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