Public Protector probes Sassa manager for alleged abuse of state funds and power

2019-11-25 06:01
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Jan Gerber, News24)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Jan Gerber, News24)

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Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is probing allegations of improper conduct at the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) in Gauteng, for the alleged misuse of state funds, the abuse of power, and victimisation.

At the heart of the investigation is Sassa's regional executive manager, Themba Matlou, who is accused of abusing his power of authority by suspending officials who held views that were different to his. 

The complaint was laid anonymously with the Public Protector's office on November 5, 2018. 

In a letter to the provincial office, which News24 has seen, the Public Protector's office highlighted the allegations in the complaint and asked the office to provide it with certain documents.

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Part of the allegations were that Matlou used his office, position and state resources to campaign for a provincial position in the ANC in Gauteng.  

A source in Matlou's office told News24 that he created posts for two women, alleged to be his girlfriends, and appointed certain people in positions even though the applicants did not meet the job criteria. 

The complaint also stated that Matlou approved payment for transport and hotel accommodation for one of his alleged lovers without following due process. This was after she was appointed Practitioner: General Support in the Sedibeng district office, it is alleged in the complaint.

Since the complaint was lodged in 2018, insiders at the agency have accused the Office of the Public Protector of dragging its feet in concluding the probe.

But Public Protector spokesperson Oupa Segalwe told News24: "The Public Protector is not dragging her feet. The investigation is ongoing."

He said the complaint was lodged late in 2018 and a meeting with the agency, where the matter was supposed to be discussed, which was initially scheduled for October 31, 2019, was postponed.

"A new date is to be agreed upon, but it will be soon," he said.

When News24 approached Sassa for comment, it said: "Sassa is co-operating fully with the Public Protector and is sharing required correspondence with that institution. We will issue a statement as soon as the PP office has concluded its work."

News24 also approached Matlou for comment, but he referred all questions to the agency.

Read more on:    public protector  |  sassa  |  johannesburg  |  corruption  |  governance
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