More trou­ble for con­tro­ver­sial Methodist pas­tor

CityPress - - News - JUNIOUR KHU­MALO juniour.khu­[email protected]­

Be­ing chas­tised and barred from lead­ing the ANC’s ser­vice dur­ing the party’s 107 birth­day cel­e­bra­tions for the deroga­tory man­ner in which he spoke about women may not be the only pun­ish­ment ANC Chap­lainGen­eral Rev­erend Vuk­ile Me­hana has to worry about.

Non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion Sonke Gen­der Jus­tice will this week be adding to his woes with its plan to write for­mal let­ters to the ANC, the Methodist church, the Univer­sity of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and other in­sti­tu­tions where the dis­graced rev­erend holds pub­lic of­fices, call­ing on them “to sack Me­hana or take strong re­me­dial ac­tions”.

“We have noted Me­hana’s apol­ogy. How­ever, this is not enough for some­one of his stature.

“We will be call­ing on the Methodist church in par­tic­u­lar to fol­low through on its prom­ise to in­ves­ti­gate the mat­ter and to ini­ti­ate re­me­dial ac­tion that will send a strong mes­sage to oth­ers that this type of be­hav­iour is un­ac­cept­able,” said Bafana Khu­malo, di­rec­tor of strate­gic part­ner­ships at Sonke.

Me­hana made head­lines after an au­dio record­ing do­ing the rounds on so­cial me­dia re­vealed a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween him and fel­low Methodist Church mem­ber Ray­mond Sibanga ex­press­ing sex­ist views about women in the min­istry.

Sonke Gen­der Jus­tice spokesper­son Patrick Go­dana said “the com­ments were not only dis­re­spect­ful to women in church min­istry but to all women in gen­eral. There­fore, stronger ac­tion needs to be taken against Me­hana.”

Re­spond­ing to the calls made by Sonke, UKZN’s act­ing ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for cor­po­rate re­la­tions, Normah Zondo, said the mat­ter had been re­ferred to the next meet­ing of the univer­sity’s coun­cil for guid­ance on whether any fur­ther ac­tion should be taken against the rev­erend.

She added that the univer­sity “notes with re­gret the com­ments on so­cial and pop­u­lar me­dia at­trib­uted to Rev­erend Vuk­ile Me­hana, chair of the UKZN coun­cil. We also note Rev Me­hana’s re­morse­ful apol­ogy to his friends and col­leagues in the church, as well as so­ci­ety in gen­eral, in which he ac­knowl­edged the hurt of his com­ments as both ‘care­less’ and ‘in­ap­pro­pri­ate’. ”

Zondo said that the univer­sity was strongly com­mit­ted to all prin­ci­ples and val­ues en­shrined in the Con­sti­tu­tion and, in par­tic­u­lar, to the achieve­ment of equal­ity and the ad­vance­ment of hu­man rights and free­doms as well as non-racial­ism and non-sex­ism.

“The univer­sity has fur­ther ad­vanced these prin­ci­ples by adopt­ing a UKZN pact which pro­motes mu­tual re­spect, re­spon­si­bil­ity and ex­cel­lence in teach­ing and learn­ing,” she said.

Adding to Me­hana’s woes, com­mu­ni­ca­tions min­is­ter Stella Nd­abeni-Abra­hams also looked into 19-year-old al­le­ga­tions of em­bez­zle­ment that were lev­elled against Me­hana. This is after so­cial me­dia com­ments al­leged that the rev­erend would not face any ac­tion since he had al­ready got­ten away with loot­ing over a bil­lion rands from the SA Post Of­fice when he was a di­rec­tor.

City Press broke the story in Septem­ber 2000 that Me­hana, then se­nior gen­eral man­ager for hu­man re­sources and trans­for­ma­tion, and his gen­eral man­ager, Pieter En­gel­brecht, had al­legedly handed hun­dreds of mil­lions of rands in lu­cra­tive con­tracts to their pals and in turn re­ceived kick­backs for their ser­vices.

This arose out of pre­lim­i­nary find­ings of a top-level fi­nan­cial and foren­sic au­dit car­ried out 19 years ago.

Nd­abeni-Abra­hams, how­ever, found that an in­ves­ti­ga­tion was in­sti­tuted and there was in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence and in­for­ma­tion for a pros­e­cu­tion to be in­sti­tuted.

When City Press reached out to Me­hana for com­ment, he re­fused to do so, say­ing what­ever com­ment pub­li­ca­tions had re­ceived from the com­mu­ni­ca­tions depart­ment should suf­fice.

Rev Vuk­ile Me­hana

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