‘Officials were incompetent’
State commission says postal services and telecoms department has been crippled by managers with ‘a lack of knowledge’
Iin defence of our hard-won constitutional democracy and the fundamental human rights it bestows upon all citizens of our land,” said Mantashe on Friday.
“The ANC calls upon all South Africans and all South African national groups to deepen democracy by embracing unity as a cornerstone for a better South Africa,” he concluded. The word ‘racism’ ncompetent senior officials were the primary contributor to the paralysis of the department of telecommunications and postal services, a state report has found.
According to a report compiled by the Public Service Commission, these managers were illequipped when it came to knowledge about their responsibilities and the various governance processes in the public service.
The report was commissioned by Minister Siyabonga Cwele to investigate the leadership crisis in his crippled department, which has not been able to implement some of its key policies, including the roll-out of broadband in South Africa.
The internal situation was not sustainable, the commission found.
Cwele was caught in the crossfire of the viciously competitive fights between director-general (DG) Rosey Sekese and her deputy directors-general as they tried to settle scores carried over from the former department of communications.
The commission found that at the centre of the departmental conflict and misunderstandings, especially those between Sekese and her deputies, was “a lack of knowledge of the legislative framework governing the public service”.
The commission said the most senior managers in the department had limited knowledge about critical governance processes relating to human resources and supply chain management.
“It points to a serious lack of effectiveness in performing their duties and may be regarded as incompetence,” reads the report, dated December 8 2015, but yet to be released.
It recommends that Cwele “should conduct a skills audit of human resources management capacity to identify gaps and initiate training to assist in ensuring compliance with prevailing prescripts”.
The report, commissioned by Cwele last November, reserves its most damning findings for Sekese.
She said she had not seen the report but threatened to submit it for judicial review.
The report recommends that Cwele take appropriate action for, among other things, failing to demonstrate that she was fit and proper to hold her position in the department, as she did not adequately deal with disciplinary cases against her deputies.
It also found that she undermined Cwele by not listening to him.
“She did not maintain a high level of professionalism and integrity, as she failed to recognise her role as DG and that of the executive authority, as provided for in the Public Service Act, in that she did not formally inform the minister of the implementation of the sanctions before she served the letters of dismissal to the [deputies] and ignored the minister’s instructions to suspend disciplinary-related matters in the department.
“She undermined the authority of Cwele after she failed to inform him about the dismissal of [deputy director-general] Gift Buthelezi. This may have impacted negatively on the reputation of the minister.” featured six times and ‘racist’ twice.
Mantashe then went into conspiracy theory mode, accusing the US of plotting regime change in South Africa by sending bright young South Africans to that country on leadership programmes as part of the not-so-secret Mandela Washington Fellowship.
“We are aware of the programme that takes
Buthelezi was the deputy for international relations tasked with the roll-out of broadband. He was fired in March via SMS for failing to carry out his duties and insubordination. Buthelezi claimed the charges were “fabricated”. He has threatened to go to court after the finalisation of the state investigation.
Meanwhile, other findings relate to Sekese’s overreliance on lawyers, which the commission concluded “showed she was weak when it came to decision making”.
“The department incurred legal services on the goods and services budget amounting to R9 million, according to the 2014/15 annual report.”
Cwele has already instituted disciplinary proceedings against Sekese. City Press understands that a senior advocate has been roped in for Sekese’s disciplinary hearing in spite of recommendations by the commission against the use of legal services for disciplinary cases.
The commission wants Cwele to initiate a process of training senior managers to be department representatives and chairpersons for disciplinary hearings “to strengthen internal capacity”.
Sekese is not the only one fingered in the report. Three of her deputies, who left the department amid hostile circumstances in a space of five months, have been given their share of the blame.
The commission found that they had corroborated Sekese’s version that they had snubbed meetings, undermined Cwele’s authority and orchestrated attempts to discredit Sekese. In the process, they “failed to discharge their duties with the required degree and care and diligence that is expected of senior managers”.
While the commission did not make any definitive findings about Cwele, it suggested he had compromised the principle of accountability and performance young people to the US for six weeks, then brings them back and plants them everywhere in the campuses,” roared Mantashe as the ANC members and supporters applauded his courage furiously.
True to tradition, a few hours later, Mantashe told a Gauteng talk radio station that he had been misquoted. Go figure. management. He had still not signed Sekese’s performance assessment for the period 2015/16.
This would have provided Cwele with an early detection mechanism, the commission suggests.
Sekese told City Press on Friday that although she had yet to see the final report, she was prepared to fight to clear her name in court. She denied that she had splurged on legal services. She had often obtained legal opinion from the chief state law adviser, separately from the cases which the department had to fight, she said.
Sekese also insisted that she had gone ahead with disciplinary cases against her deputies based on a legal opinion. Cwele was wrong to have tried to stop her, she said. She claimed to have brought this to his attention.
It is understood that the relationship between the two broke down after that.
“I was objective all along. The only thing I did was to ensure every employee was given fair process through seeking legal opinion from state law advisers at not cost to the department,” said Sekese.
She also questioned why the minister, as the executive authority, had not shouldered any responsibility. She dismissed the finding that she was incompetent.
“I don’t doubt my capabilities. I don’t doubt my competencies. The role of the DG is a very complex position, especially if you are managing a department with problems and [have] allegations levelled against you. You rely on the minister for the performance of the department,” she said.
“The role of the DG is intertwined with that of a minister. When you see a department that excels, it’s through the minister doing his or her part.”
Cwele was expected to release the report later this year. He was still “applying his mind” to it, he said.
Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister