National

Zingile Dingani's wall of deceit

Andisiwe Makinana

The auditor general has called for the disciplining of Parliament secretary Zingile Dingani for breaking rules to gain access to funds.

Zingile Dingani misled Parliament over salary advances, a report has found. (Terry Shean, Sunday Times)

The auditor general has recommended that ­Dingani be disciplined for spending R186000 of Parliament's funds to build a wall around his home.

Disciplinary action should also be taken against chief financial officer Leslie Mondo, who gave the instruction to Parliament's finance department to advance the money to Dingani.

The Mail & Guardian is in possession of the auditor general's report, which was submitted to Parliament in May following an investigation into whether the salary advance had contravened any law or policy.

Parliament transferred the money to the builders in December 2011 for the brick wall around Dingani's home in Panorama in Cape Town's northern suburbs, despite it not ­having approved the draft policy on salary and advances.

According to the report, Dingani misled speaker Max Sisulu and Mninwa Mahlangu, chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, when he applied for the advance by claiming Parliament's policies did in fact make provision for the granting of salary advances.

Salary advances
"Disciplinary action should be considered against the secretary [Dingani] for incorrectly indicating to the executive authority [Sisulu and Mahlangu] that policies of Parliament made provision for the granting of salary advances while the policy was in draft format," said the report.

Dingani was told to repay the money in instalments of R10 000 over 19 months, starting in February. However, the report said that following a Sunday Times article on March 18 about the salary advance, the outstanding portion of the loan – R166 000 – was paid into Parliament's bank account two days later. The report also found that the memo in which Sisulu and Mahlangu approved the advance said nothing about the terms of repayment and Mondo's instruction to the finance department was not in accordance with Parliament's previous practice of deducting advances – in full from the next pay cheque.

The report said Mondo should be disciplined for issuing an instruction to the finance department without obtaining written confirmation from Sisulu and Mahlangu and allowing repayment terms inconsistent with the previous practice.

It also recommended that Parliament's executive should discourage the approval of salary advances to the secretary or any other senior official.

The report said Dingani and Mondo had explained that a new policy had been developed to cater for security upgrades at the houses of the speaker, chairperson of the National Council of Provinces and the secretary.

Disciplinary hearing
"They further explained that although the ministerial handbook for members of the executive and presiding officers made provision for security at the private houses of presiding officers, this new security policy would cater for amounts in excess of the threshold of R100 000 stated in the ministerial handbook."

Mondo told the auditor general during interviews that because no security policy existed that could cover Dingani's needs, he had advised him to apply for an advance.

The report said Dingani had experienced "security breaches" at his home since 2007. The State Security Agency had recommended that a fence be erected and an office used for official purposes and to house sensitive documents be secured.

Both Dingani and Mondo have been on special leave since March.

On Thursday, Dingani refused to comment on the auditor general's findings, saying the report was now the subject of a disciplinary hearing.

Mondo could not be reached for comment and several attempts to get comment from Parliament spokesperson Luzuko Jacobs failed.

Delivering his budget speech in May, Sisulu said Parliament would  "formally engage" with Dingani and Mondo "regarding the processes to follow". He said his office would report back to the House once the processes had been completed.


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