/ 18 May 2023

Mandela Foundation says legal process underway after complaints against outgoing CEO Hatang

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Sello Hatang. File photo by Paul Botes/M&G

The Nelson Mandela Foundation said on Thursday that a legal process was underway regarding its outgoing chief executive Sello Hatang, and that he had been placed on special leave. 

In a statement, the foundation of the late Mandela, who was South Africa’s first democratically elected president, said while preparing to announce Hatang’s departure following his resignation at the start of the month, it had received complaints from some staff members “in relation to his past conduct”.

“The board of trustees immediately launched an investigation into this complaint, and Mr. Hatang was placed on special leave to facilitate a thorough legal process which is now underway,” the statement signed by foundation chairperson Prof. Njabulo Ndebele said, adding that it could not provide further details for now.

The foundation said it had appointed Professor Verne Harris as acting CEO until the process was finalised, adding that it was “acting firmly in line with the ethos and principles for which we are known”.

Thursday’s statement comes after the Sunday Times reported at the weekend that the foundation had placed Hatang on special leave and launched an investigation into “serious allegations” against him, without saying what these were.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation was established in 1999 — when its founder stepped down as South Africa’s president after a single term — and provided the base for his charitable work. It has carried on Mandela’s legacy following his death in December 2013.