MEC, ex-lovers in jobs-for-pals scandal

Weziwe Tikana-Gxotiwe. Picture: Mbulelo Sisulu
Weziwe Tikana-Gxotiwe. Picture: Mbulelo Sisulu

An ex-lover, an MEC and a boyfriend are embroiled in a jobs-for-pals scandal in the Eastern Cape.

The allegations against Eastern Cape transport MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxotiwe and her boyfriend at the time, Babonke Ndodomzi Dingindawo, are contained in an explosive affidavit submitted by Amanda Zono in March this year to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) national office.

Sources with knowledge of the case said Zono approached Nehawu’s national office after the union’s Eastern Cape office failed to help resolve her labour dispute with the department.

Zono claims in the affidavit that she was Dingindawo’s former girlfriend when she got the job.

But Khuselwa Rantjie, Eastern Cape transport spokesperson, denied the allegations, saying Tikana-Gxotiwe never facilitated the employment of Zono or any other employee in the department.

“She will not discuss her personal issues in the media,” Rantjie said last week.

But last week Dingindawo confirmed he was the MEC’s boyfriend at the time of the employment of Zono but said he sent Zono to the department, not to Tikana-Gxotiwe’s office, to submit her CV and apply for the job.

He said he got involved with the MEC while he was working in the department as part of the police’s VIP Protection Unit in 2014.

“She [Zono] applied for the post and was not assisted by me. I never said she must go to the MEC’s office but to the department. I was never involved with her but knew her from church. I wanted to help the poor woman get a job,” Dingindawo said.

He denied they were ex-lovers. He accused Zono of being mentally unstable.

“There is an element of her not right mentally. She likes accusing senior people of having relations with her.”

However, this is contrary to what Zono claims in her affidavit dated March 14 in which she claims she was employed in the department as a contract worker in 2015 because she knew Dingindawo, who was her former boyfriend.

“I wish to report certain irregularities in relation to how my services were terminated at scholar transport and how nepotism was practised through the appointment of certain persons within scholar transport [department].

“I was called by Babonke Dingindawo in 2015, and he instructed me [to] go to the department of transport in the office of the MEC and to bring the CV along,” she says in her affidavit.

On arrival, she said she found four other people in Tikana-Gxotiwe’s office who were also waiting to submit their documents.

“We were given Z83 [government jobs application form] to fill in. A week later we were called to come to the office of the scholar transport [department] in East London for interviews.”

On Thursday that week, Zono claims they were called by the department’s human resource unit to report for duty the following Monday.

“We were employed as data capturers for scholar transport. A year later we were told that our contracts are coming to an end and therefore we will be absorbed on a permanent basis,” she claims in her affidavit.

Zono also alleges that her troubles in the department started when Tikana-Gxotiwe allegedly found out that she was Dingindawo’s former girlfriend.

She alleges she was not assigned work related to her job description and decided to go on sick leave.

While on sick leave, she claims she received a call from a colleague who asked why she had resigned, something she claimed she never did.

She claims she also received a call from the police in East London informing her that Tikana-Gxotiwe had laid a charge claiming that Zono had threatened her.

However, Rantjie said Tikana-Gxotiwe denied this.

“She [the MEC] did not lay a charge against Zono in either her official or personal capacity,” Rantjie said.

A senior government official said Nehawu failed to deal with Zono’s labour dispute but opted to focus on politics.

“The provincial office never took up her labour issue. She was a member, instead they offered her protection services when her life was under threat. It would seem that they were interested in using her for their political battles but not to resolve her dispute at work.”

When asked last week about allegations that an official submitted Zono’s resignation in 2017, which she never signed, Rantjie said: “In September 2017, Zono submitted a request to the head of department to intervene in the matter of her resignation.

“In her letter, she claimed that she made the decision under stressful conditions as she was intimidated by unknown people. However, it was too late for her to withdraw her resignation,” Rantjie said.

But Zono vehemently denies this.

“If I had resigned why would my resignation not have a signature? Nehawu has failed from provincial to national [office to help me] and yet they claim to be the best union ever.”

Miki Jaceni, Eastern Cape Nehawu provincial secretary, said there was a communication breakdown between the union’s branch, and national and provincial offices.

But he said there was a meeting held by the province and national officials, which identified gaps in information relating to Zono’s matter. Jaceni said the matter was still being pursued.

“Our legal department continues to study the available information while they await new evidence to compile a list of areas that will solidify the chances of [us] pursuing a winning case as per the mandate of our joint meeting.

“It is very unfortunate that this additional information has not been forthcoming.”

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