The Nelson Mandela Foundation has cleared its CEO Sello Hatang and COO Limpho Monyamane of any wrongdoing following an independent investigation into allegations that they flouted procurement policies, improperly used resources, bullied, intimidated and abused donor relations.
The probe was launched last December following anonymous complaints by staff.
In a statement on Friday, the foundation’s chairperson Professor Njabulo Ndebele said that the investigation had found no objective evidence to support the complaints against the two executives.
“The two executives, who voluntarily took special leave while the investigation was underway, will therefore return to work this week,” said Ndebele.
He said from the investigation, it was clear that some financial and human resource policies and procedures needed to be revised, strengthened and restated to ensure consistency and compliance.
Ndebele said some issues raised in the complaint related to bullying, intimidation and harassment of staff by both executives as well as the use of foul language by Hatang and other employees openly on staff leading to trauma and anxiety.
There was no evidence to support Monyamane’s alleged interference with procurement, with claims that preference was given to certain service providers and there was an overreliance on consultants.
“There is no objective evidence to support the allegation insofar as it relates to the COO interfering with the procurement processes and preferring certain service provider. Regarding over-reliance on consultants, the views of staff members differed.
“There were staff members who were of the view that there is an over-reliance on consultants while others were of the view that a majority of the work is done internally, and consultants are used where there is a lack of capacity internally. In the absence of objective evidence which indicates over-reliance [on consultants], we are unable to progress this allegation further,” Ndebele explained.
Investigators found no evidence to support the complaints related to the improper use of cars, credit cards and Uber e-hailing service. However, the investigators flagged the importance of policies on the use of resources to ensure they are understood by all staff and adhered to.
Ndebele said this also applied to the procurement of goods and services where the investigators found no evidence of interference or flouting of procedures, although there were shortcomings in the drafting of some of the contracts signed.
“As a result, the investigation team recommended that the role of the foundation’s procurement officer be reinforced, and procurement policies updated,” he said.
Ndebele said the board would remain focused on addressing these issues “over the coming months to ensure that there is transparency and consistency as well as ensuring full confidence in the way the foundation receives and deploys funds to support Madiba’s legacy”.