Home Affairs fires top IT executive after his 'gross negligence' led to offline system

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The Department of Home Affairs' chief director of infrastructure management for information systems, Simphiwe Hlophe, was found guilty of gross negligence and dereliction of duty.
The Department of Home Affairs' chief director of infrastructure management for information systems, Simphiwe Hlophe, was found guilty of gross negligence and dereliction of duty.
PHOTO: Gallo Images/Fani Mahuntsi
  • The Department of Home Affairs has fired its top IT executive, Simphiwe Hlophe, for negligence and dereliction of duty.
  • It said Hlophe failed to deploy routers and switches that were procured to improve service delivery.
  • It meant that the system experienced unnecessary outages.

The Department of Home Affairs has dismissed its chief director of infrastructure management for information systems, Simphiwe Hlophe, after he was found guilty of gross negligence and dereliction of duty. 

On Tuesday, the department said Hlophe had neglected to deploy new routers and switches that were bought to improve its day-to-day operations, and that he falsely claimed he had.

This led to network outages that could have been avoided and negatively impacted service delivery and the department's functioning.

The department said the procurement of the routers and switches were part of its plan to improve service delivery, jointly with the State IT Agency (SITA) and the communications and digital technologies department before a joint portfolio committee last year. 

It added:

SITA undertook to totally overhaul their networks whereas Home Affairs undertook to buy [a] certain number of new routers and switches. These routers were procured. Mr Hlophe reported that they were being deployed whereas it was discovered later that they remained in the storerooms.

It said it would not tolerate executives' failure to oversee the implementation of its plans to improve service delivery.

It also cautioned senior managers against negligence, saying it negatively impacted service delivery and violated the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi urged employees to ensure clean governance and improved service delivery.  

READ | Paper cut: Home Affairs launches project to digitise records, hopes to employ 10 000 people

"The responsibility for the performance of the department rests with all employees. Accountability for the performance of assigned responsibilities is absolutely critical," he said.

News24 could not get hold of Hlophe for his comment.

However, he took to LinkedIn, where he posted: "After a long and eventful seven years with the Department of Home Affairs, I have left the department. I leave the department with very competent colleagues to continue with the repositioning of home affairs within the whole of government."

"Whilst on this handyman leave, I will be identifying and assessing possible opportunities within the ICT sector," he wrote.



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