Public Protector report claims Fikile Mbalula overpaid three of his advisors

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Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.
  • Fikile Mbalula has been accused of irregularly paying millions to three of his advisors. 
  • The transport minister has undertaken to recover the money.
  • The Public Protector's report revealed the advisors' appointments were contrary to the provisions of the Public Service Act.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, the director-general of the department, Alec Moemi, and a transport ministry advisor, Lawrence Venkile, have undertaken to pay back money determined as a salary overpayment.

They will also recover all overpayments effected to the salary of a legal advisor in the ministry, Kaiser Khoza. 

This follows the Public Protector's move to focus on investigating Mbalula, for irregularly appointing and paying millions to three of his advisors in the transport ministry. 

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane released her report on Wednesday.

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During the media briefing, she said the officials appointed were, among others, Venkile, Khoza and Bongisizwe Mpondo.

The Public Protector revealed that investigations of maladministration and improper conduct in the irregular appointment of ministerial advisors by the transport department resulted from a complaint lodged on 5 August 2020 by a group calling themselves 'Anonymous Concerned Members of Staff'.

Mkhwebane released 16 reports on Wednesday, which covered public procurement, recruitment and selection of staff, management of ratepayers' funds by a number of municipalities, and whistle-blowers' plight.

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The investigation revealed that the appointments of Venkile, Khoza and Mpondo were contrary to the provisions of the Public Service Act and other prescripts applicable to the department.

It also revealed that Venkile and Khoza were irregularly paid salaries, which were equivalent to that of a deputy director-general (DDG), even though their appointments were not approved by Minister of Public Service and Administration Senzo Mchunu.


Mkhwebane said: "The investigation further revealed that Mr Mpondo's secondment to Prasa was done contrary to the provisions of the Public Service Act, and other prescripts applicable to the department."

The Public Protector said the three were appointed at salary ranges of R1 446 378, R1 521 591 and R1 714 074 per annum.

She said their offers, in respect of contracts of appointment, are dated 1 June 2019 and 21 March 2019, but Mchunu approved it on 27 August 2019 and 11 November 2020.

"Allegations included the appointment of Messrs Mpondo, Venkile and Khoza to positions of advisor without prior confirmation of the appointments by the Department of Public Service and Administration as required in terms of the applicable," she added.

Mkhwebane said, with regards to Mpondo, it was also alleged that she was appointed immediately after the elections as a Parliamentary Liaison Officer in the ministry at the level of deputy director while she only had a matric certificate.

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It was also alleged that, when she completed her Diploma in Administration in April 2020, Moemi issued an instruction that she be elevated to the position of senior manager.

Mbalula has now been tasked to ensure that all future contracts of employment, performance agreements, and security clearance of special advisers are submitted to the minister of public service and administration for record purposes as required by the Dispensation Policy.

It's not the first time the Public Protector has implicated Mbalula in her findings.

Busisiwe Mkhwebane
Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

During his term as sports minister between 2010 and 2017, he was found guilty after a complaint laid against him by DA MP Tshepo Mhlongo and the AfriForum Head of Anti-Corruption Unit, Monique Taute, in relation to a holiday trip that he and his family took to Dubai.

Mbalula was accused of violating the Executive Code as it was alleged that Mbalula - in his capacity as the minister of sport - undertook a trip with his family for a vacation and that trip was sponsored by a private company, named Sedgars Sports, which at the time was conducting business with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc).

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Some of the allegations against Mbalula were that half of his trip – which cost about R680 000 – was paid for by Sedgars Sports, through an inactive company, known as Reimon Uniforms.

Cadre deployment

The Public Protector revealed she was also investigating allegations of an attempt by the ANC to instruct its deployed cadres in the national government to influence the appointments for the positions of directors-general, chief executive officers, chairpersons and board members in state-owned entities.

The allegations were made on 22 July 2020 by Leon Schreiber. The complaint was referred to the Speaker of the National Assembly in terms of section 6(4) (c) (ii) of the Public Protector Act.

Earlier this month, the DA dragged the governing party to court, claiming it had refused to make public information on the processes that were followed and the decisions made by the party's national cadre deployment committee between 1 January 2013 and 1 January 2021.

In an application brought by Schreiber before the High Court in Johannesburg, the DA wanted to compel the ANC to make public the policies and practices of cadre deployment for the purpose of transparency.

The party said the process had a significant bearing on appointments made in key areas of state governmental institutions.

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