Ayanda Dlodlo - a new ministry and forgotten controversies

2019-06-03 08:51
Newly-appointed State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo (GCIS)

Newly-appointed State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo (GCIS)

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New State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo is set to take the reins of an old portfolio dogged by recent infighting and paranoia, bringing with her a raft of experience, and leaving behind past controversies of her own.

Dlodlo was one of the 28 people appointed in ministerial posts by President Cyril Ramaphosa last week, and will be tasked with overseeing the rebranding of the state's security apparatus back to foreign and domestic hubs, after years of infighting.

Her deputy will be ANC head of presidency and close Ramaphosa confidant, Zizi Kodwa.

Dlodlo replaced the embattled Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, and seems to have played the long game to secure her new appointment, leaving behind fragments of controversies in her recent past.

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Her spokesperson Mava Scott said Dlodlo remains a "principled public representative", despite issues ranging from her blacklisting during her time as Director of VIP Consulting Engineers, and more recently, being reprimanded by Parliament's ethics committee over an undeclared trip to Dubai, paid for by businessman Fana Hlongwane.

VIP saga

In 2012, Dlodlo was barred from conducting business with government after her company breached a tender contract with the Ekurhuleni municipality.

In 2007, the company secured a tender with the Ekurhuleni municipality to oversee the construction of toilets in Etwatwa. Their job included issuing progress certificates so the municipality could pay for services accordingly.

In 2009, however, the company locked horns with the municipality and was taken to court over a breach of contract.

The municipality claimed, according to court documents, that "VIP failed to fulfil its obligations in properly protecting the respondent's interest" when VIP issued a negative payment certificate amounting to over R8m.

VIP stated in the certificate that this was a "correction of previous payment certificates" and that the company they were overseeing "failed to proceed with due diligence and had unlawfully subcontracted its obligations".

Dlodlo, however, decided not to take part in the court case.

"The reason the minister was barred was simply because she had opted not to join the court case to litigate against an ANC municipality and all others who did were not listed," said Scott.

While she resigned from the company in 2009, it did not prevent her, along with fellow directors of VIP, from being blacklisted on the Treasury database of suppliers in 2012. They were barred from doing any business with government for the next five years.

"Her name was subsequently cleared from this and her reputation remains intact as a diligent and ethical public representative," said Scott.

The long game

Dlodlo's career spans across the public and private sectors. While she faced her first hurdle as director of VIP, it was not her last.

That same year, after the national elections, Dlodlo became former president Jacob Zuma's parliamentary councillor. She had also come to Zuma's defence during the time of the Marikana massacre, after former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema called for Zuma to resign.

Dlodlo quietly rose up the ranks inside government.

In 2017, however, she found herself dragged to Parliament's Ethics Committee due to a trip to Dubai, allegedly arranged by the Gupta family and paid for by Fana Hlongwane in 2015.

READ MORE: Ayanda Dlodlo found in breach of MPs' ethics code after Dubai hotel stay

Hlongwane is a businessman close to the infamous "Arms Deal", in which Zuma was implicated and is also implicated in former public protector Thuli Madonsela's "State of Capture" report.

Dlodlo did not declare the trip, nor her relationship with Hlongwane, and was reprimanded by the committee.

Dlodlo was also the subject of a fraud and theft case in 2006 relating to the so-called "C-fund" during her time as head of strategic operations of the now-disbanded Scorpions, but the charges were eventually withdrawn. Dlodlo described the charges as "laughable", with the two counts being for R30 000 and R700 rexpectively.

While Dlodlo's background in Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) - the armed wing of the ANC - and her position as secretary-general of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Veterans Association (MKMVA) is said to have been her gateway into politics, it has certainly given her a foundation in issues of national security.

She has held several government positions, including Gauteng Safety and Security MEC.

Of her appointment, Scott said: "She is of course grateful for the confidence the president has shown in her by appointing her to such a critical portfolio.

"The oath of office she has taken is a commitment to serve the Republic and the people of South Africa with dignity and utmost dedication."

Read more on:    parliament  |  ayanda dlodlo  |  politics  |  cabinet reshuffle

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