New claims hit Agric Dept

2008-08-13 00:00

Employees of the KZN Agriculture and Environmental Affairs Department have called for the sacking of MEC Mtholephi Mthimkhulu and the acting head of department, Siddiq Adam.

Members of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), Public Servants’ Association (PSA) and National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw) met at the Cedara auditorium yesterday to complain about what they called a “cursed department” and urged office bearers to call on Premier S’bu Ndebele to sack the two leaders.

Nehawu regional secretary Khaye Nkwanyana told The Witness they were summoned by shop stewards to act urgently on the concerns raised by employees and some managers.

Employees allege racial discrimination by Adam in filling posts, poor planning, intimidation and misuse of power, and communication protocols not being observed.

Nehawu office bearer Thulani Gabela said they will ask the ANC, not the premier, to appoint replacements for the MEC and heads of department because those he has appointed have left the department in “tatters”.

The Witness has a signed letter sent to the MEC and Adam stating concerns some managers raise. Adam allegedly disregards human resources policies in the appointment of interns, and has “changed job specifications and requirements in order to suit placement for his pals; for example, manager: budget planning and control” and that he interferes in the operations of middle management.

The letter says that following the suspension of advocate Modidima Manya as head of department, management believed the appointment of Adam would help improve the department’s functioning and service delivery. However, things have deteriorated to an unbearable level, said the managers.

The letter says Adam has forced the department to continually change its plans, and as a result, implementation of projects planned in the previous financial year have not taken place.

The letter also alleges that there is foreseeable over-expenditure in filling positions that are not in the approved structure.

Another letter sent to Adam and the MEC by a manager, whose name is known to The Witness, alleges that Adam instructed her to appoint a person as an intern in the supply chain management unit and promote that person to an entry-level position in six months.

The letter also says Adam handed her the CV of the person with the instruction that he or she be appointed as an intern at human resources in July last year.

The letter further states that Adam “offered to arrange a good discount for me to buy a BMW at SMG Pietermaritzburg”, and that Adam issued another instruction regarding 100 bursaries for schools, including that the first school to be visited should be Russell High School, where Adam’s wife allegedly works.

When it was put to Mthimkhulu, who was in Vryheid yesterday, that employees want him sacked and that the department is accused of the irregular filling of posts, he said that he was not “aware of and it’s news to me”.

Adam confirmed receiving the two letters, which he called moves to tarnish his image and damage his career.

He said he suspects the letters were written by the same person.

“I have been appointed by the premier to clean up the department and get on with service delivery. It’s very easy for people to make wild allegations. People have alleged to the MEC that I am racist and corrupt,” said Adam.

He said that the people who wrote the letters were close to the suspended HoD, Manya, and want him to return.

He said he is prepared to walk away as his family and health have been affected and he has nothing to lose.

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