One of the first indicators that a state-owned enterprise has been captured is the appointment of people to key areas in the company, often by bending legislated processes to accommodate a person who is otherwise unfit to serve.
Think of the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as the SABC’s chief operations officer or Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba reversing the Eskom board’s decision to hire Steve Lennon as chief executive, replacing him with Colin Matjila — who, in seven months, broke procurement rules to award millions of rands in contracts to the Gupta family.
So, when the Mail & Guardian heard that the board of the little-known state-owned company, Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP) — a national key point that produces animal vaccines — appointed a chief executive without following due process, it was concerning.
It’s three weeks since the M&G started asking questions, but the company and the State Security Agency still cannot produce the security clearance certificate required for the incumbent, Baptiste Dungu, to occupy the top post at the OBP.
Internal OBP documents reveal that the board, which presided over a flawed process to recommend Dungu’s appointment, knew that he did not meet the minimum information security standards because he was recruited from outside of the country. The standards require that a person be in the country for five years before being considered for top-secret clearance.