DG un­der fire for snub­bing over­sight body

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA

THE di­rec­tor-gen­eral (DG) of the Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion De­part­ment, Dan Mashitisho, may have landed him­self in hot wa­ter for miss­ing a meet­ing of the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee that has over­sight over the de­part­ment.

This emerged when the de­part­ment’s del­e­ga­tion led by its Deputy Min­is­ter, Pam Tsh­wete, was sent pack­ing from a meet­ing it at­tended with­out Mashitisho.

And it came hot on the heels of his un­sat­is­fac­tory per­for­mance when he and the de­part­ment were re­cently quizzed by the stand­ing com­mit­tee on pub­lic ac­counts over their fi­nances.

Yes­ter­day’s meet­ing was sched­uled to con­sider gov­er­nance is­sues with re­gard to the West­ern Cape-based Over­berg Wa­ter Board, which had failed to ta­ble its bud­get and an­nual re­port.

Also un­der con­sid­er­a­tion was the KwaZulu-Natal-based Mh­lathuze Wa­ter Board, for­merly led by cur­rent SAA chair­per­son Dudu Myeni, which was dis­solved in April by an or­der of the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg High Court amid le­gal ac­tion over the sus­pen­sion of its chief ex­ec­u­tive.

The com­mit­tee did not take kindly to Mashitisho’s apol­ogy, in which he no­ti­fied mem­bers he was at­tend­ing an “ur­gent” meet­ing in­volv­ing the Sed­ibeng Wa­ter Board.

The re­ports that Min­is­ter Nomvula Mokonyane, who is on sick leave, had or­dered the DG to be at the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee meet­ing made mat­ters worse for him.

Com­mit­tee mem­bers unan­i­mously re­jected his apol­ogy.

“We need the DG to be present… I’m con­cerned about the num­ber of apolo­gies we are get­ting and where things are be­ing left to oth­ers to an­swer on his be­half,” the DA’s Tar­nia Baker said.

The ANC’s Thomas Makondo echoed Baker’s sen­ti­ments, say­ing the DG was al­ways un­avail­able for meet­ings at which mat­ters for which he was ac­count­able needed to be dis­cussed.

The ANC’s Der­ick Mn­guni said it was clear that Mat­shishito did not take the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee se­ri­ously by choos­ing to pri­ori­tise peo­ple he was not re­port­ing to.

“This is tan­ta­mount to ill-dis­ci­pline. I re­quest that we take cog­ni­sance of this.

“When he comes here, he must ex­plain him­self. We need to take this mat­ter fur­ther,” Mn­guni added.

Com­mit­tee chair­per­son Mlungisi John­son said Mashitisho had called him in the meet­ing on his need to be ex­cused.

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