CityPress - - News - MSIN­DISI FENGU msin­disi.fengu@city­

A CEO of a sec­tor ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing author­ity (Seta) is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for al­legedly fail­ing to de­clare his in­ter­ests in a com­pany that made mil­lions from the Seta he runs.

Oupa Mopaki, CEO of the Media, In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nolo­gies (MICT) Seta, has al­legedly been work­ing with Te­bogo Mashig­wane – di­rec­tor of Net­work In­fraco – to milk the Seta of mil­lions of rands.

Sources claim an email with his cell­phone num­ber has emerged link­ing him to the com­pany. It has be­come key ev­i­dence in an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­le­ga­tions of a con­flict of in­ter­est on Mopaki’s part.

Sources told City Press that Net­work In­fraco should not have re­ceived pay­ment di­rectly from the Seta be­cause it was a train­ing ser­vices provider, not an em­ployer. The com­pany was al­legedly paid by the Seta for an un­usu­ally high num­ber of stu­dents and in­terns it claims to have trained.

Ac­cord­ing to reg­u­la­tions, em­ploy­ers claim di­rectly from the Seta af­ter pro­vid­ing num­bers; the Seta then pays the com­pa­nies to cover the costs of trans­port­ing stu­dents and in­terns to train­ing sites.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion will also seek to clar­ify why Mashig­wane’s name al­legedly ap­peared in con­tracts be­tween the Seta and two other com­pa­nies, Ly­la­corp and Band­width, which also made mil­lions of rands from the Seta. The probe will also help de­ter­mine Mopaki’s al­leged in­volve­ment, if any, in the part­ner­ship.

MICT Seta board sec­re­tary Ta­nia Vorster said the board took the mat­ter se­ri­ously and would ap­point an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tor to lead the probe.

Mopaki’s de­tails were also al­legedly dis­played on the web­site of Tran­shub – an on­line trans­port di­rec­tory that of­fers trans­port-re­lated ser­vices to bro­kers and in­di­vid­u­als – as a “con­tact per­son” for Net­work In­fraco. Mopaki con­firmed to City Press the au­then­tic­ity of the email bear­ing his name in as­so­ci­a­tion with Net­work In­fraco. How­ever, he said his de­tails could have been in­cluded in the email be­fore he de­clined a job of­fer from the com­pany when his con­tract came to an end at the Seta in March 2012. The Seta only con­firmed in May that year that his con­tract would be ex­tended, he said.

Dur­ing the pe­riod be­tween March and May 2012 he con­tacted his re­cruit­ment agent con­cern­ing his avail­abil­ity in the job mar­ket, Mopaki said. The agent re­ferred him to Net­work In­fraco.

“They were look­ing for a group HR ex­ec­u­tive and I ap­plied for the job at a com­pany called Net­work In­fraco. I was in­ter­viewed and of­fered the job of group ex­ec­u­tive of the com­pany and its chan­nel or port­fo­lio com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Ly­la­corp, Band­width and four oth­ers.

“Within three weeks of ac­cept­ing the of­fer, my con­tract was re­newed by the Seta and I de­clined the of­fer,” Mopaki ex­plained.

Documents in pos­ses­sion of City Press in­di­cate that Net­work In­fraco re­ceived R32.9 mil­lion from the Seta in 2014-15; and R29.2 mil­lion in 2016/17.

Ac­cord­ing to the documents, the al­lo­ca­tions were meant for a skills de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme or in­tern­ships in Gaut­eng, Lim­popo, Mpumalanga and North West.

The num­ber of stu­dents ranged from 40 to 150 in each pro­gramme, fig­ures that were no­tice­ably higher than the av­er­age sub­mit­ted by other com­pa­nies.

Ly­la­corp was paid R17.6 mil­lion in 2013/14, R21.2 mil­lion in 2014/15, and R17 mil­lion in 2016/17. Band­width re­ceived R15.9 mil­lion in 2014/15 and R9.6 mil­lion in 2016/17.

Mopaki ac­knowl­edged that Seta grant ap­pli­ca­tion com­mit­tees al­lo­cate funds to em­ploy­ers and not ser­vice providers. He in­sisted that these com­pa­nies were not ser­vice providers since a com­mit­tee had con­firmed that they qual­i­fied to ac­cess Seta grants.

“I do not see how I am con­flicted ... I do not par­tic­i­pate in the award­ing of Seta grants and I am not a mem­ber of any grant com­mit­tee. I only sign ser­vice level agree­ments on the rec­om­men­da­tion of said com­mit­tees,” he said.

Mopaki also de­nied the al­leged links to Mashig­wane. When con­tacted for com­ment, Mashig­wane also de­nied his as­so­ci­a­tion with Mopaki. He con­firmed that he was a di­rec­tor of the three com­pa­nies.

“Kindly make me aware of a law that says I can­not be a di­rec­tor in three com­pa­nies.

“Ac­cord­ing to MICT Seta re­quire­ments, all three com­pa­nies are in com­pli­ance and they duly pay levies to the SA Rev­enue Ser­vice.”

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