Jobs for pals revealed

2013-02-26 00:00

CAPE TOWN — An official paid R180 000 for overtime; a basic nurse appointed as a director; bursaries for tens of thousands of rands awarded with no arrangements for repayment; friends appointed to directors’ posts ahead of more qualified candidates.

This is a what a top secret report has revealed in the Department of Women, Children and the Disabled.

It comes after the minister, Lulu Xingwana, was recently in the spotlight for buying furniture worth millions of rands for her head office.

But it seems this was just the tip of the iceberg, because the report now warns that the department faces possible legal action over revelations of people appointed to senior posts without qualifications, some even with criminal records.

Sister paper Die Burger is in possession of the secret report that arose from an investigation that Xingwana herself set up, but which she now does not want to release to Parliament.

The report shows, among other things, how friends were favoured for directors’ posts. Some of the findings include:

• One official had only a matric and a nursing diploma, but beat applicants who included one with a BA in political science, one with a master’s degree in project management and another with an LLB degree. The post was that of a director responsible in part for sectoral and international co-operation.

• There were overtime registers in which overtime was noted without supervision and often without reasons given. One official ran up R180 000 in overtime, more than three-quarters of his annual salary package.

Departmental spokesperson Cornelius Monama said disciplinary steps had already started and some officials had been suspended on full pay.

They had been temporarily replaced with others from the department, he said.

DA MP Helen Lamoela asked whether the department could afford to suspend people on full pay, and asked whether the replacements were suitably qualified and experienced.

IFP MP Liezel van der Merwe said that recently there were too many questions hanging over the department.

“Taxpayers and the most vulnerable groups in our society — women, children and the disabled — deserve answers.”

The report warned that the department, by appointing underqualified people, had opened the door to rejected candidates demanding reviews of the process.

Monama said this issue would be handled when it arose.

In the recent financial year, the department only attained 60% of its strategic goals. The report says a lack of capacity is hampering the department in carrying out its mandate.

Attempts to get further comment from Xingwana, Monama or cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams regarding these findings were unsuccessful. Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj said he would only comment once he had seen the report.

Other findings:

- In some cases, job descriptions were adapted to suit particular people, who were then appointed. On occasion, it was noted in a handwritten note that a senior certicate was sufficient for a post that actually demanded higher qualifications.

- An official with a 1975 matric and a certificate in trade union issues was appointed as director for facilities management, with a salary of more than R700 000 a year. His membership of the Fawu trade union, and role as a shop steward were noted as work experience.

- Assistant directors, such as those for administration, were apointed with just a matric and a certificate in management, above candidates with degrees in accounting and qualifications in state administration.

- People with criminal records were appointed.

- There were also claims that a former director-general appointed a personal secretary on a deputy director’s salary level. The secretary’s friend was then appointed as her assistant, with the secretary sitting on the panel that appointed the friend.

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