Culture Dept denies probe of its head over tenders, jobs

2009-02-10 00:00

The KwaZulu-Natal Arts, Culture and Tourism Department has denied that its head of department, Stella Khumalo, is being investigated by the Public Service Commission (PSC) on allegations of meddling in employment and tender processes.

A Durban newspaper alleged on Sunday that Khumalo employed unqualified people, some without driver's licences, and interfered in tender processes in favour of certain companies.

Department spokesman Vukani Mbhele said the deparment is aware of the allegations, but denied that there is an investigation.

Mbhele said no proof has been provided, and those making the allegations "feel out of favour".

He admitted there has been correspondence with the PSC.

"The department had a problem with corruption before the MEC [Weziwe Thusi] took over in 2006 and before [Khumalo] joined the department in 2007. There have been drastic measures to root out corruption ever since," said Mbhele.

The Witness has learnt that the PSC asked Thusi to respond to the allegations when they first surfaced and the MEC replied that there is no evidence to support them.

Sources in the department told The Witness that Khumalo does not meddle with appointments and tenders as there are committees to deal with such processes.

However, the IFP issued a statement yesterday calling on Premier S'bu Ndebele to suspend Khumalo immediately.

"While the allegations around [Khumalo] are shocking, they do not surprise the IFP - they echo questions we raised in November about one official who was allegedly employed despite having no driver's licence and who was later rewarded with an acting position in the eThekwini Cluster," said IFP MPL Joshua Mazibuko.

He said that "now that there is an investigation", as suggested in the media report, Ndebele must suspend Khumalo.

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