Eastern Cape Transport MEC Xolile Nqatha is currently seeking legal advice on how to proceed with actioning a Public Service Commission report, which found over a dozen of irregular appointments in his department.
This is after Makhanda High Court judge Nomathamsanqa Beshe dismissed an application made by 13 officials implicated in the report on January 19.
The commission, Nqatha, Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane and Eastern Cape legislature Speaker Helen Sauls-August were cited in the court order as first, second, third and fourth respondents, respectively.
The report found irregularities in the appointment of officials, who occupied top management positions, while others worked in the MEC's office and some were hired in junior positions.
City Press reported at the time that Amanda Zono, who lifted the lid on the alleged irregular appointments, stated in an affidavit she submitted at the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union national office that she was among those who were also appointed.
Zono mentioned the names of implicated officials and that she was appointed in a similar manner.
She claimed that when she was appointed as a clerk in the scholar transport unit within the department, she was the former girlfriend of Babonke Ndodomizi Dingindawo, who was the boyfriend of Tikana-Gxothiwe at the time.
READ: MEC, ex-lovers in jobs-for-pals scandal
Tikana-Gxothiwe’s office denied that she facilitated Zono’s appointment at the time and that one of the senior officials, deputy director-general for administration Lomex Mzwanele Sisilana, mentioned by Zono, was irregularly appointed.
But, according to the commission’s report, which City Press has seen, all the names that were mentioned by Zono during the interview with the newspaper were among those whose appointments were set aside by the commission because they either did not meet the requirements of the post or their posts were never advertised.
The 13 officials are:
*Director level: Sisilana, deputy director Sonwabo Cibi, financial accountant director Noxolo Maru, strategic support director Nomthandazo Ntozakhe, assistant director administration Thulisa Sonjani, assistant director programme support for chief director: corporate services Andile Mini, director for institutional support and development in scholar transport Nosiphiwo Somdyala, deputy director for scholar transport Siyabonga Stompi and deputy director coordinators for scholar transport Nombeko Mazwi and Joshua Zwelobusi Jita.
*Lower level structure: Anita Modikoe, secretary in the office of Tikana-Gxothiwe; Piwokuhle Zitshu, secretary to human resources director and admin officer Fikelwa Seti.
City Press understands that some of them were no longer employees of the department.
READ: MEC in hot water as PSC report reveals rot at transport department
It remains unclear whether those who were no longer in the department left when Tikana-Gxothiwe was reshuffled by Mabuyane in August or for other reasons.
Tikana-Gxothiwe is currently the ANC’s member of the provincial legislature.
Nqatha’s spokesperson, Makhaya Komisa, did not respond to specific questions, which included the employment status of the officials.
‘We are aware’
But, Komisa said they were aware of the January 19 order.
City Press attempted to reach out to the implicated officials but only managed to get contacts for Sisilana and Maru.
Sisilana declined to comment.
Maru had not responded to questions at the time of publishing.
Sauls-August's spokesperson Lwandile Sicwetsha said the legislature filed a notice to abide by the court's decision as there was no relief sought against the institution.
Neither the commission nor Mabuyane’s office had responded to questions at the time of publishing.
This is a developing story.