I am not a dictator – OUTA CEO on allegations of bad governance

2018-04-26 16:19
Wayne Duvenage of OUTA (File, Jan Gerber, News24)

Wayne Duvenage of OUTA (File, Jan Gerber, News24)

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The CEO of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), Wayne Duvenage, on Thursday hit back at former executives who have accused him of mismanagement and bypassing the board.

"They are smearing me to appear as a dictator. I am not a dictator," said Duvenage.

He was responding to a Mail & Guardian report in which former executives claimed that there was gross mismanagement and bad governance in the organisation.

Duvenage is reported to have allocated himself a salary of R160 000 a month without the board's approval, among other claims.

"The people who talked to the Mail & Guardian said what they said because the organisation has been going through structural reform. The organisation has grown from three people to 40 people in two years," said Duvenage.  

He said 18 months ago several directors voiced their disagreement with the restructuring process.

An axe to grind

"They constantly pushed back and then they eventually resigned. One of them continued to work with us as a consultant for six months."

One of the directors, who was allegedly charged with serious misconduct, was dismissed from the organisation eight months ago.

"Now he has an axe to grind and has gone and rounded up former directors who resigned to make me look like a bad CEO. They are smearing me to appear as a dictator. I am not a dictator."

When asked if he would be taking legal action against the former executives, Duvenage said he was monitoring the situation.

"[It's] just sour grapes. We are watching the space to see how the situation develops."

He dismissed accusations around bad governance and said changes at the organisation were a sign of progress.

Support from chairperson

"Governance is not static, it is a journey. We have transformed from five white executive directors to eight directors, four of which are executives and the other four are non-executives. This is a reflection of our journey."

Duvenage said the board met quarterly.

"It is very structured. What I do as the CEO is [to] oversee expenditure to make sure that we do not waste funds. When we spent the R100 000 on FutureSA and SaveSA, the decisions were made by a management team within limits of authority.

"The managers agreed on it. The same person making the allegations was part of the decision making team," he said.  

OUTA's non-executive chairperson Ferial Adams said: "The allegations they are making about mismanagement and bad governance are not true."

Adams said the organisation had been able to put in place good governance in a short space of time.

Resignation

"These are disgruntled executives who happened to disagree with Wayne and then they put up a fuss."

Adams said it sounded like the executives had something against Duvenage.

"The bottom line here is that Wayne is a strong leader who demands excellence," she said.  

In a statement released on Thursday, OUTA said it was an accountable organisation and believed in good governance.

Meanwhile, OUTA's Ted Blom announced on Tuesday that he had left the organisation.

"After being approached in 2016 to build OUTA's presence from zero to a leading voice in the regulatory and energy space, the time has come to confirm Ted Blom has split from the organisation," the organisation's former energy director said in a statement.  

READ: Electricity costs could be sliced by 90% - energy expert

He said: "This separation follows deep-seated differences over case management and a diminishing focus on energy matters amongst many increasingly politically influenced OUTA adventures."

Since leaving the organisation in January, Blom said he had established an energy expert coalition comprising respected energy analysts, lawyers and professionals.

Read more on:    outa  |  wayne duvenage
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