Minister at war with his D-G

2011-09-24 18:53

The relationship between Communications Minister Roy Padayachee and his director-general Rosey Sekese is headed for the rocks, just four months after she started her job.

This week the relationship came to a head when Padayachee ordered Sekese to withdraw a decision she had earlier taken to comply with a labour bargaining council order to reinstate a suspended employee.

City Press can also reveal today that Sekese, whose appointment was announced by Cabinet at the end of May, does not have an employment contract for the new job although she has been in the position since June 1.

Four government officials, three working for the department and another familiar with the situation, claimed Sekese’s position was ceremonial, not operational.

They said she did not have powers to take decisions which have financial implications and cannot fill positions. “These powers rest with people who are supposed to report to her,” one official said.

Another official said: “She can’t take any decision. She has no ­powers at all.”

On Monday, the relationship reached boiling point when the D-G ordered the reinstatement of the department’s former Human Resources head, Basani Baloyi to her position. It is currently occupied by another official.

Padayachee intervened and told Sekese to rescind her decision and that current human resources head Kedi Sekwele should keep the position. By Friday, Sekese had not withdrawn her decision, but nor was the reinstated Baloyi able to return to her duties.

A stand-off is looming between Baloyi and Sekwele who, shortly after receiving notifaction to ­vacate her office and make way for Baloyi on Monday, approached Padayachee to intervene.

In return, Sekwele told the D-G: “I have referred your (Sekese) ­letter for attention of the Minister and he has instructed me not to ­vacate my position until he issues a further instruction.”

Sekese refused to to be drawn on her working relationship with Padayachee. Pearl Seopela, spokesman for the department, was sent questions but had not replied at the time of going to press.

Employees who are members of civil service union Nehawu have approached Padayachee over ­Baloyi’s return to work without facing a disciplinary hearing and are said to be laying the blame at the D-G’s door.

City Press also understands that a report was commissioned by Sekese’s predecessor, Mamo-dupi Mohlala, into Baloyi’s conduct last year.

The report by Ntumba Chartered Accountants – a copy of which City Press has – also picked up on Sekese’s appointment, questioning the processes followed when Sekese first joined the department in 2006.

The report said Sekese’s appointment as deputy D-G was suspicious, contravened regulations and that she only applied for the position two years after she was interviewed.

Ntumba’s reports said: “There is no indication on file that the employee (Sekese) was actually interviewed.”

However, Sekese said she was headhunted to join the department and interviewed by a panel including late Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Cassaburi.

The panel compiled a report, also in possession of City Press, on their choice of Sekese which contradicts Ntumba’s report.

The panel said it found Sekese “highly experienced and the most suitable candidate for the position”. Sekese said she was never interviewed during the Ntumba probe and would “not want to speculate or comment on their ­intentions”.

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