/ 16 October 2017

Muthambi latest Cabinet minister to suspend top officials

Minister Faith Muthambi
Minister Faith Muthambi

Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi has become the latest Cabinet minister to suspend a top official for undisclosed reasons, suspending her chief financial officer and a deputy director general.

Muthambi announced on Sunday that CFO Masilo Makhura and deputy DG for administration Linda Shange were placed on precautionary suspension from October 13, pending the finalisation of a formal investigation process.

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“The suspensions are precautionary measures taken by the ministry and do not in any way constitute a judgement against the two senior officials,” a department statement read.

“As is common course, this process is confidential and is a matter between the employer and the employees concerned.”

Measures had been put in place to ensure the department can still run without the two officials, and her department would “follow labour practices”, she added.

The move comes after a number of other ministers in this administration have placed their officials on “precautionary suspension” under very similar circumstances in the past few months.

Scant information was provided in those cases as well.

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane suspended her director general Dan Mashitisho in July.

MPs on the water and sanitation portfolio committee said they were alarmed at the suspension, saying it brought the number of unexplained suspensions of senior management to five.

Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana suspended his director general Mike Mlengana pending an internal investigation, also in July.

Mlengana told Landbou Weekblad at the time that he was suspended for not signing documents for projects that had not properly gone out on tender.

Home Affairs director general Mkuseli Apleni was suspended by Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize in September.

Apleni is going to court, with his lawyer saying it was not clear what he was being suspended for.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini fired South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) CEO Thokozani Magwaza in July, also under pressured circumstances.

Her director general Zane Dangor resigned in March over the Sassa debacle, citing a breakdown in the relationship with Dlamini in their duties to the Constitutional Court. – News24