Queries over housing HOD

2013-09-06 00:00

NEWLY appointed KZN Human Settlements head of department, Greta Apelgren-Narkedien has threatened to take the Democratic Alliance (DA) to court if they did not halt what she called “a personal vendetta” against her.

This comes amid calls by the DA’s housing spokesperson in KZN, George Mari, for the Public Service Commission to investigate the appointment of Apelgren to the post.

Mari accused Apelgren of being a political appointee and said she lacked the experience to handle the housing portfolio in KZN.

“Her appointment is a housing disaster for KZN. She failed miserably in the Cape where she was deputy director-general of Fisheries and was forced to quit barely three months into office after admitting that she did not go through the proper process for the position,” Mari said

However, Apelgren — a former member of the ANC’s military wing, Mkhonto we Sizwe, has shot back, vehemently denying the accusations, accusing the party of harassing her since she stepped into political office in 1995.

“It’s absolute nonsense. The DA has been humiliating me at every turn mainly due to my political past and role as one of the Magoo’s bar bombers. They have been trying to discredit me purely on this basis and have been criticising me in every single position that I’ve taken up, no matter which department or province I go to.

“Their criticisms have been completely unfounded, but if they continue with the personal attack on my personal and professional integrity I will have no choice but to turn to the courts and sue them for defamation of character. I’ve survived two years of solitary confinement during my political days and am used to stress but will not hesitate to take on the DA if they persist in this harassment of me,” Apelgren told The Witness.

She added that she welcomed any investigation into her appointment provided it was done objectively and independently of any political party.

“I will be stepping on toes along the way in my appointments as I have done in the Cape where certain people criticised me after I cancelled tenders which I found were linked to their political friends. However, this will not deter me from carrying out my responsibilities … I don’t really care if I am being criticised by the DA as people will judge me by the work that I do,” added Apelgren.

KZN Human Settlements MEC Ravi Pillay has also dismissed the DA’s criticisms, saying that Apelgren had followed every process in her appointment to his department.

“The DA is playing petty politics here. Greta was the best candidate for the post, has demonstrated good leadership and an excellent command of the housing issues in this province. I am thrilled to have her on our team and even more so because she is a woman. We need to be affirming the position and role of more women and she has the experience to go with this,” Pillay said.

The Public Service Commission has completed their investigation into the process around Apelgren’s previous appointment and will report soon.

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