Com­plaints by dis­grun­tled staff prompt min­is­ter to or­der probe

CityPress - - News - MSINDISI FENGU msindisi.fengu@city­press.co.za

Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Blade Nz­i­mande has or­dered an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­le­ga­tions that Te­bogo Mmotla, the act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer (CEO) of the Min­ing Qual­i­fi­ca­tions Au­thor­ity – one of the coun­try’s 21 sec­tor ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing au­thor­i­ties (Se­tas) – faked his qual­i­fi­ca­tion in cor­po­rate gov­er­nance and strate­gic man­age­ment.

Dis­grun­tled em­ploy­ees wrote anony­mously to Nz­i­mande’s di­rec­tor­gen­eral, Gwebs Qonde, ear­lier this month, ask­ing him to have Mmotla sus­pended for hav­ing lied about his qual­i­fi­ca­tions when ap­ply­ing for the Seta’s chief op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer post in 2014.

Former CEO Sa­muel Seepei com­mis­sioned an in­ter­nal au­dit re­port and re­view of all staff qual­i­fi­ca­tions af­ter Nz­i­mande pub­licly ex­pressed con­cern early last year over the num­bers of peo­ple ly­ing about their qual­i­fi­ca­tions when ap­ply­ing for top jobs.

The re­port that fol­lowed, which City Press has ob­tained, found that Mmotla told his bosses he had com­pleted the SA In­sti­tute of Char­tered Ac­coun­tants pro­gramme in strate­gic man­age­ment and cor­po­rate gov­er­nance. But when the in­ter­nal au­di­tors ob­tained the state­ment of cred­its from the ac­count­ing pro­fes­sion­als body, they showed he never com­pleted the course.

The re­port, dated July 2016, rec­om­mended that those found guilty of qual­i­fi­ca­tion fraud and cor­rup­tion be fired and crim­i­nally charged. How­ever, the board has yet to act against Mmotla.

“Fraud, cor­rup­tion and re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties pre­sented the most sig­nif­i­cant po­ten­tial risk to the Min­ing Qual­i­fi­ca­tions Au­thor­ity’s as­sets, ser­vice de­liv­ery, ef­fi­ciency and rep­u­ta­tion,” the re­port found.

“One of those ar­ti­cles that has been utilised to as­sist in this re­port states that Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa told Par­lia­ment that peo­ple who mis­rep­re­sented their aca­demic qual­i­fi­ca­tions to get jobs in the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor should be named, shamed and jailed.” In two let­ters to Qonde, em­ploy­ees listed sev­eral griev­ances and ac­cused Mmotla of qual­i­fi­ca­tions fraud and cor­rup­tion. Madikwe Mabotha, spokesper­son for the de­part­ment of higher ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing, con­firmed re­ceipt of the let­ters, say­ing: “This mat­ter was con­se­quently brought to the at­ten­tion of the min­is­ter. He has since writ­ten to the board of the min­ing au­thor­ity Seta to im­me­di­ately un­der­take a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion into all the mat­ters raised by em­ploy­ees, and to pro­vide him with feed­back with­out any fur­ther de­lay.” Mthokozisi Zondi, act­ing chair­per­son of the min­ing au­thor­ity’s board, said it had be­gun the process of ap­point­ing an in­de­pen­dent com­pany to investigate the em­ploy­ees’ al­le­ga­tions. “The board will be able to take ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion once the in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been com­pleted,” he said. Zondi sent out an in­ter­nal memo in De­cem­ber, com­plain­ing that em­ploy­ees had writ­ten to Qonde, and asked them to in­stead “com­mence such en­gage­ments by pur­su­ing in­ter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nels”. Ap­proached for com­ment, Mmotla ini­tially said he needed board ap­proval, and then later de­clined to say any­thing. City Press has learnt that the board met nine days ago to dis­cuss Mmotla’s sus­pen­sion, but he re­mains in his job. An in­sider at the min­ing au­thor­ity ac­cused the board of dou­ble stan­dards, say­ing it had al­lowed Mmotla to fire an em­ployee found to have faked his qual­i­fi­ca­tions fol­low­ing the same au­dit, while he re­mained em­ployed. Asked why Mmotla was not sus­pended at the board meet­ing, a board mem­ber who de­clined to be named said all ques­tions would be an­swered af­ter a pre­lim­i­nary re­port was com­piled and sent to Nz­i­mande and the min­eral re­sources de­part­ment, to which the min­ing au­thor­ity Seta re­ports. Min­eral re­sources spokesper­son Ayanda Shezi did not re­spond to SMSes and emailed ques­tions. Ear­lier this month, the DA sub­mit­ted a com­plaint to Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane, ask­ing her to investigate al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion by se­nior min­ing au­thor­ity ex­ec­u­tives.

Blade Nz­i­mande

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