Colleagues ‘target’ graft-busting DG

2012-05-05 16:45

The acting director-general of ­public works has accused a few colleagues of embarking on a smear campaign against those who are trying to root out corruption in the department.

Mandisa Fatyela-Lindie became the department’s third acting ­director-general in less than 18 months in January this year.
But her appointment has not come without controversy.

A report leaked to City Press ­reveals Fatyela-Lindie was the subject of an internal investigation in 2009 after being accused of ­embezzling departmental funds.

The allegations against her have not been proved, but it appears that no further investigations were conducted after the report was handed to former director-general Solly Malebye and former minister Geoff Doidge.

Fatyela-Lindie has been the ­department’s chief director in its strategic management unit since 2004.

Her own unit produced the ­report in September 2009 after a preliminary investigation into her alleged misdemeanours.

In the report, it is alleged ­Fatyela-Lindie irregularly spent more than R21 000 of departmental funds on a hotel, a return ticket to Cape Town and car hire while attending classes at Stellenbosch University. She had obtained a ­bursary from the department.

“In terms of the bursary policy of the (department), the department has no obligation whatsoever to pay the costs that have been ­incurred on behalf of (Fatyela-Lindie),” it said in the report.

It was also alleged in the interim report that Fatyela-Lindie irregularly appointed the Bureau for ­Economic Research, based at ­Stellenbosch University – where she was studying at the time – to develop a “balanced scorecard” for the department.

According to the report, she ­authorised the payment of R1.195 million to the bureau. Questions are raised in the report about why R545 000 of the money was claimed and paid two years after the bureau’s contract was supposed to have ended.

Martin Viljoen, speaking on ­behalf of the bureau, rejected suggestions that there was anything untoward about the work done.

Viljoen said the project was ­completed on December 21 2007, later than scheduled.

“In this regard, it is of concern that the internal investigative ­report does not seem to make mention of the altered, agreed-upon dates as documented by both ­parties. This raises unnecessary suspicion on the process that is to all accounts above board,” said ­Viljoen.

Fatyela-Lindie told City Press: “There is a culture of disrespect for authority that has crept in at Public Works over the past few years. It is aimed at frustrating any effort to deal decisively with ­corruption and is promoted by a few people who are involved in ­corruption.

“They have over the past year circulated anonymous emails deeply offensive to those they are targeting, who are against corruption.

“I guess they are now after me.”

Minister of Public Works Thulas Nxesi’s spokesperson, Sabelo Mali, said the minister was not aware of the allegations against Fatyela-Lindie.

“We are mindful that there will be employees who will try to derail the minister and implicate others when you act on corruption,” he said.

Doidge, who was minister when the report was drafted, said he knew nothing of the investigation.

Malebye, who left the department in 2009, said: “I remember that (report), although I do not have the full details.”

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