Shiceka’s dodgy ‘deployee’

2011-04-16 18:55

The chief financial officer of a bankrupt municipality in North West was appointed by the office of Minister Sicelo Shiceka without her having any local government or relevant financial experience.

The 38-year-old Nana Masithela was appointed to the Madibeng municipality at the end of 2009.

Her CV states she has an MBA qualification, but when asked for proof later, she failed to produce it.

She earned a salary of nearly R80 000 a month and because she was “deployed” by the ministry, Madibeng also had to pay for her accommodation.

She was previously employed at Wesbank.

City Press has obtained letters and documents that show how Madibeng’s municipal manager and an administrator, appointed to save the municipality from further financial ruin, had tried for almost a year to get rid of Masithela.

City Press also has documents that show how Masithela paid out several million rand to two financial and legal consultants that the municipal manager appointed “under duress” to perform due diligence at Madibeng.

The consultants were “imposed” by Shiceka’s ­­cooperative governance and traditional affairs ministry on Madibeng, despite acting municipal manager Dikgape Makobe’s objection that the expense was wasteful, excessive and inefficient.

In around April last year, Masithela announced to Makobe that she was accompanying the minister on an overseas trip.

She produced a letter from the ministry that said they were going to investigate IT systems in Belgium.

Masithela had nothing to do with IT systems at Madibeng and didn’t produce any report or feedback upon her return.

She also flew in business class to Cape Town to listen to Shiceka’s budget vote speech.

She hired, using Madibeng’s account, a luxury 4x4 but allegedly first had to transfer R400 000 at the airport to
Avis to settle municipality arrears before she could secure the car.

Makobe and the administrator of Madibeng, Eric Matlawe, were allegedly threatened when they wrote reports to the ministry saying that Masithela was incompetent and had no relevant experience.

Makobe was demoted shortly after his report, and Matlawe discovered he was under investigation after he wrote reports complaining of her conduct after his appointment as an administrator in an effort to save the municipality.

Matlawe said in a letter to Shiceka in August last year that Masithela was hampering service delivery and “has plunged the municipality into further financial troubles”.

He also requested that the ministry investigate allegations that Masithela “colluded” with tender bidders, but admitted at the time that this allegation was untested.

Deputy Cooperative Governance Minister Yunus Carrim was sent to Madibeng to “smooth things over” and had promised to investigate.

However, Matlawe shortly afterwards wrote to the ministry: “I am the one who raised issues with the minister and it is surprising that I am the one who is now under investigation.

I reserve my legal rights.”

Things got so bad by the end of last year that Matlawe suspended Masithela despite the threats and the protection she enjoyed.

She was suspended with full pay and benefits.

She was charged with gross misconduct, abuse of power, failure to conduct herself with honesty and integrity, failure to perform her duties and gross negligence.

The disciplinary hearing was supposed to have been concluded in January, but she reached a dubious settlement with the municipality in which she offered to resign in return for being paid until the end of her contract.

City Press confirmed this week that Masithela is still being paid by Madibeng.

Neither Matlawe or Makobe would comment this week on their relationship with Masithela nor on that with Shiceka or his ministry.

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