The basic education department announced on Thursday that Mathanzima Mweli would be its new director-general.
“After a rigorous interview and vetting process the successful candidate, Mr Mathanzima Hubert Mweli will take up his new role with immediate effect,” the department’s statement read.
While head of the North West education department in 2009, Mweli was slapped with fraud charges relating to tender irregularities. He was suspended and later resigned to join the national department in 2010. There, he helped administer the Eastern Cape education department and was later appointed as deputy director-general of curriculum policy monitoring and support.
In response to the Mail & Guardian’s questions, national spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga sent this newspaper a court order issued on June 26 last year which stated that the case against Mweli and his co-accused was struck from the roll.
Mhlanga said Mweli had been invited back to work as director general of the province by the Office of the Premier, but had declined to take the position of national DG instead.
“Mr Mweli was vetted for the North West post and again for the basic education post and was found suitable for the appointment,” Mhlanga said.
The department’s said Mweli was running the North West department, it “went from being in the bottom three provinces to the top three in the Grade 12 examination results” and had taken it “from a disclaimer audit opinion to an unqualified audit opinion with a certificate of merit of excellence for 2008/9 financial year”.
Mweli came to the position “with a wealth of experience and an in-depth understanding of the needs and challenges in the sector”.
“He has a number of qualifications which include a Bachelor of Arts in Education with Honours, a Bachelor of Administration in Industrial Relations with Honours, and a Master’s Degree in Development and Management, all from the University of the North West.”
Mweli succeeds Paddy Padayachee who was acting in the position for the past two years. Padayachee took over from Bobby Soobrayan who resigned from the position in 2014 after a furore over his involvement in the 2012 Limpopo textbooks crisis.