De Lille unfazed by acting-DG’s baggage

The deadlock between the general public works minister, Patricia de Lille, and her director common, advocate Sam Vukela, has deepened after revelations this week that the person she appointed to behave as an accounting officer is accused of doctoring an inside forensic report.  

De Lille’s detractors at the moment are utilizing her hiring of appearing director common Imtiaz Fazel — even though he was on the verge of suspension simply final November — as proof of a witch hunt towards Vukela. 

De Lille dismissed these assertions this week, saying that Vukela was allowed to self-discipline Fazel with out involving her. Final yr Vukela approached De Lille for permission to position Fazel on precautionary suspension after he was accused of doctoring an inside investigation report early in 2019.  

Fazel on the time was the deputy director common: governance, danger and compliance. He was the custodian of the investigation course of and in September handed the report back to Vukela.
It was later dropped at Vukela’s consideration that Fazel’s model was materially completely different to the investigators report in that suggestions of motion towards the worker, Manthekeleng Monama, have been deleted. 

Advocate Sam Vukela.

Monama was discovered to have been dishonest by failing to report that she was being paid allowances she was not entitled to for eight years. This resulted within the division incurring irregular expenditure of R480 000.

“The report mentioned that she must be sanctioned for knowingly accepting the allowances regardless that she knew she was not entitled to [them]. Imtiaz, for some motive, determined to guard her and delete these findings,” mentioned a public works insider. 

The Mail & Guardian has seen the submission by Vukela to De Lille’s workplace requesting that Fazel be positioned on precautionary suspension. 

The submission, which is dated November 2019, says Fazel’s suspension would permit the division to finish its probe of his division. 

“The allegations are considered in a critical gentle and it has the potential to compromise each Mr Fazel and the division if not examined on condition that significance of his portfolio as a champion of ethics in addition to to the bias to the administration and efficiencies of the division of public works and infrastructure,” Vukela mentioned in his submission to De Lille.

It’s not clear whether or not she ever responded.

Vukela additionally included the minister’s failure to behave in his now deserted court docket software to have his suspension and disciplinary matter put aside, arguing that the minister was being inconsistent by motion towards him and never appearing towards Fazel.

De Lille’s spokesperson Zara Nicholson didn’t reply to questions on whether or not De Lille was conscious of allegations towards Fazel when she appointed him to behave after she suspended Vukela. 

Talking by Nicholson, De Lille mentioned it was Vukela who didn’t act towards Fazel as he was empowered by the Public Service Act to self-discipline him. 

“I’d advise you to learn the related sections of the Public Service Act and the Public Finance Administration Act I’ve cited in my answering affidavit because it pertains to the varied issues raised by the suspended DG so that you just don’t should quote me straight on the related sections in legislation.”

Vukela didn’t reply to a number of makes an attempt to solicit remark from him. 

He was suspended by De Lille three months in the past after he was implicated within the contract administration and dodgy funds regarding the state funerals of Winnie Madikizela Mandela, and Zola Skweyiya. He in flip accused the minister of meddling in procurement matters in the department including the controversial Beitbridge border fence, the place the division overpaid for companies by R14-million.

The M&G has additionally learnt that Vukela can also be difficult minister within the presidency Jackson Mthembu for failing to restart his disciplinary listening to, as per President Cyril Ramaphosa’s instruction. Mthembu was appointed to supervise Vukelas’s listening to after Ramaphosa eliminated De Lille’s delegation of authority to take action.