‘I believe I’m targeted’

2019-11-18 17:05
Embattled KZN Social Development head Nokuthula Khanyile said the Hawks raid was designed to embarrass her.

Embattled KZN Social Development head Nokuthula Khanyile said the Hawks raid was designed to embarrass her. (clive ndou)

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Embattled KZN Social Development head Nokuthula Khanyile has described the raid in her office by the Hawks as part of a campaign to dislodge her from the top position she has occupied since 2014.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Weekend Witness yesterday, Khanyile, who is currently under attack from various quarters, said Thursday’s raid at her Pietermaritzburg offices was designed to embarrass her.

“My view is that there was absolutely no need for the amount of aggression that was displayed by the Hawks investigators, particularly given that there was never any resistance. They should have told me what they wanted and I would have co-operated,” she said.

Members of the Hawks, who are investigating Khanyile for corruption, had arrived at her offices in several vehicles on Thursday morning.

“They flung doors open, shouted at me and grabbed some files without even giving me an opportunity to find out the reason for their visit. They treated me like a thug and embarrassed me in-front of my colleagues,” she said.

Khanyile’s work laptop, cellphone, flights and accommodation booking records and other documents were confiscated during the raid.

The raid happens as certain senior officials at the department are spearheading a campaign against Khanyile, whose employment contract was extended by the provincial cabinet by three months following the expiry of her five-year contract at the end of last month.

The disgruntled officials, who have accused Khanyile of corruption, had opened a criminal case against her with the Hawks in September after it had become clear that Premier Sihle Zikalala was planning to have her contract extended.

However, Khanyile said the department officials had targeted her after she had given the green light to the initiation of disciplinary measures against managers fingered in corruption.

“As a result of the disciplinary processes some people were suspended while others were dismissed.

“We also referred some cases to the Treasury, which is currently conducting a forensic investigation,” she said.

A social worker by training, Khanyile is also under fire from disgruntled NPOs, who accuse her of preventing the department from offering them adequate financial support.

On Monday a group of protestors claiming to be representatives of NPOs around the uMgungundlovu District stormed into the department’s offices.

Khanyile said the protestors had not lodged any complaints with her office before embarking on the protest.

“It was the first time I was hearing about their grievances and when I attempted to look into the matter, they refused to provide me with details. They said they were only prepared to talk to the MEC,” she said.

Under Khanyile, the department had been able to improve its audit outcomes, receiving a clean audit in the previous financial year. The Hawks raids, NPO protests and the officials’ defiance campaign were now making it difficult for her to focus on her job. “What has been happening in recent weeks is that each time I report to work they would be some sort of disturbance aimed at distracting me from doing my job.

“I strongly believe there is a well-orchestrated campaign to intimidate me so that, in the end, I would not be able to do what I’m being paid to do,” she said.

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