/ 27 September 2010

DG sets sights on assets unit job

Dg Sets Sights On Assets Unit Job

Embattled communications director general Mamodupi Mohlala was to report back to work at the Communications Department on Monday if she was not offered a job to her satisfaction by Sunday, she told the Mail & Guardian.

One of the jobs Mohlala feels she would be particularly suited for is that of head of the asset forfeiture unit (AFU), currently occupied by Willie Hofmeyr.

Mohlala said this was one of many positions she had discussed as an option with Public Service and Administration Minister Richard Baloyi.

“I’m a lawyer and this job requires legal skills,” she said. “It was my understanding that Willie Hofmeyr is wearing two hats with his post as head of the SIU [special investigative unit], so this job was available.”

Hofmeyr was not available for comment, but the M&G has previously reported that he kept his post during the controversial attempted restructuring by national director of public prosecutions Menzi Simelane in May only because Justice Minister Jeff Radebe intervened.

The M&G learned at the time that Simelane had told Hofmeyr to choose between heading the AFU and the SIU.

Other jobs on Mohlala’s radar include chief executive of Transnet, SA Airlink, the Consumer Protection Commission or the State Information Technology Agency, she said this week.

An exodus of senior managers from the communications department followed Mohlala’s 10-month term as director general. Five resigned, citing her autocratic leadership in their exit interviews. Mohlala suspended another six for alleged misconduct and corruption.

Mohlala denied that her management style had caused controversy among senior staff in her two previous jobs, as an Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) councillor and then as the pension fund adjudicator.

“At Icasa, I read about it in the media. There was nothing formally put to me that there was a problem with my management,” said Mohlala.

“As pension fund adjudicator, there was never a formal complaint about me and the person who had a problem resigned and left.”

Mohlala said she believes she is “very hands-on” and consultative. “I think I get the job done; that is one thing for sure,” she said. “There is an element of my being very decisive and that could give people a sense of discomfort. But in management, you have to be very decisive.”

After clashing with Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda and being fired by him in July, Mohlala challenged the dismissal in court.

According to a settlement reached and made an order of court, she took a leave of absence with full pay. During this time an alternative and equal job would be found for her in one of the government departments or state-owned entities.

This week it emerged that attempts have been made to give Mohlala a more junior position in government. A notice in the Government Gazette states that she has been appointed administrator of the public service sector education and training authority.

Mohlala told the M&G she had never accepted this post and described the move as “mischievous”. Her lawyers have written to the government, explaining that she has not accepted this post.

Baloyi’s spokesperson, Dumisani Nkwamba, said the minister was still in discussions with Mohlala.