http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/ ... QcTjY5wva4Mkhize continues to draw R1.6m salary
March 16 2015 at 02:48pm
By VIVIEN VAN DER SANDT
Durban - Suspended Ezemvelo boss, Dr Bandile Mkhize, is to continue to remain at home after his enforced leave was extended indefinitely recently.
The move, questioned by his lawyer, means he continues to draw his R1.6 million salary while an investigation goes on.
Mkhize was suspended on December 1 by the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mike Mabuyakhulu.
He said Mkhize and his chief financial officer, Darius Chitate, would face disciplinary proceedings over the restructuring of management salaries (the so-called “migration” process) at a cost to Ezemvelo of about R20m.
This came after Mabuyakhulu’s appointment of a task team to investigate.
He said Treasury regulations prohibiting expenditure without following authorised process.
Earlier this month, Mkhize was informed in writing that his suspension would continue indefinitely, said his legal representative, Ivette Calitz.
“A continued, indefinite period of suspension is not permissible in terms of labour law,” Calitz said.
“Generally, a period of 90 days is stipulated - or if not stipulated, is regarded as reasonable. Ezemvelo do not appear to be abiding by applicable legislation and fair labour principles.
“We consider the continued suspension unreasonable, and we have only been given extremely vague reasons for his continued suspension.”
She also queried the terms of the suspension itself.
“In terms of his contract with Ezemvelo, Dr Mkhize had to report directly to the board, and execute all instructions of the board. The entire migration process was overseen by the board.
“Therefore we cannot understand why action is being taken against Dr Mkhize, but the board which ordered the process, and oversaw the process, is still in place.
“Only Mkhize and the Chief Financial Officer (Chitate) are being pursued.”
She added: “We do not think there is anything substantial in the task team’s report that points to any malpractice on Dr Mkhize’s part. The report makes bold statements but does not offer firm evidence of how it came to those conclusions.”
Mkhize, who took up the chief executive officer (CEO) post at Ezemvelo in 2008, was feeling the strain of having had his reputation impugned and being denied an opportunity to clear his name, Calitz said.
“We have been given no indication of what charges he faces, or any date when a hearing may be held.”
Neither Mabuyakhulu’s office nor Ezemvelo would provide details of the case against Mkhize, what charges he faced, or when any disciplinary procedures would be held.
Mabuyakhulu’s spokesman, Bheko Madlala, referred all queries to Ezemvelo.
Ezemvelo spokesman, Musa Mntambo, said: “The issue of disciplinary process of our CEO, Dr Mkhize, is an internal matter and will not be discussed in the media until it has been finalised. This is done out of respect of all stakeholders involved.”
Two weeks after Mkhize’s suspension, Mabuyakhulu announced that the former head of SANParks, David Mabunda, had been appointed acting CEO of Ezemvelo.
It has emerged that the six-month contract involved Mabunda’s consultancy, Nselenduna Consulting.
“It is standard practice for professionals to have their salaries paid in tax-efficient entities,” Mabunda said in a written reply to questions.
Mntambo said: “It is not the first time that Ezemvelo enters such a contractual arrangement. The agreement was cleared by our legal services and the board.”
Ezemvelo refused to answer questions on how much Nselenduna Consulting is being paid for the six-month contract, or provide details on the cost of further perks for Mabunda.
A senior inside source told the Daily News that the consultancy was being paid R120 000 a month.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source also questioned the awarding of the contract. In terms of procurement rules, a contract of this value (at the alleged value of R720 000 for the six months) should have been granted via an open tender process. There is no indication this was done.
Ezemvelo was invited to respond to this claim, but had not done so by the time of publication.
On a report that Mabunda has been given furnished accommodation and VIP bodyguards, and a luxury sedan had been ordered, Mntambo said: “The furniture, at a cost of R60 000, was bought for Mantuma Resort in Mkhuze Game Reserve.
“The items were then released for the use of the CEO for a time being, and they will be returned to the resort when his contract comes to an end.”
On the car, Mabunda said, “I have not ordered any car and don’t need any. I use my personal Ford Ranger DC.”
Concerning the bodyguards, Mabunda said, “The security situation is real and serious. It is not up for public discussion.”